Pew Research Center Shows Y’all Love Tech Stories And Funny Videos As Long As They’re Short

A new study by the Pew Research Center took a look at how people obtain and share news across various social networks.

The study found that different types of headlines do better according to the social network through which they’re shared, with all three kinds of networks looked at (Twitter, blogs and YouTube) sharing the same top story only once: last June’s protests following the Iranian elections.

Here’s how Pew synthesized their findings:

Each social media platform also seems to have its own personality and function. In the year studied, bloggers gravitated toward stories that elicited emotion, concerned individual or group rights or triggered ideological passion. Often these were stories that people could personalize and then share in the social forum — at times in highly partisan language. And unlike in some other types of media, the partisanship here does not lean strongly to one side or the other. Even on stories like the Tea Party protests, Sarah Palin and public support for Obama both conservative and liberal voices come through strongly.


Twitter, the survey found, focuses on technology (and, it seems, Justin Bieber and last night’s Lost finale) and YouTube videos afford their audience a look at content across various nations, regardless of language barriers.

All three platforms, however, have something in common: their audiences all have rather short attention spans, consuming lots of information and entertainment very quickly before moving on to the next big thing. Luckily, these platforms also offer quick turnaround in terms of stories. On Twitter, for instance, 72 percent of lead stories remain hot for no more than 72 hours.

For more on the study, including a handy chart, check out the Pew Research Center’s site.



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