Links are four times more important than social

News consumers care about “links to related material” more than any other feature on news sites according to ┬áthe Understanding the Participatory News Consumer report (by Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie, Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosenstiel and Kenny Olmstead) published March 1, 2010 as part of the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

News participators care about all news site features more than online news consumers

The ability to share news was the second most important, but “following news sites via social networks” came in at the bottom of the list. Twice as many “news participators” found links important, and four times as many “other online news consumers” considered links an important feature.

Should news organizations and journalists focus less attention on gathering an audience on social networks and more attention on providing links?

In an exercise of irony, this post contains no links to related materials. To add to the irony, you can follow me on Twitter @ksablan.

3 thoughts on “Links are four times more important than social

  1. As in most cases Kevin, a balance of efforts is always best. I would submit to you that spending a proportionate amount of time on the efforts is probably best, but don't forget to get statistics on growth as well. Say that SM, while only 40% now, was just 30% 6 months ago it would suggest a growth of 33%. I think of as an example. They once had 70% of the market for Listing searches, but they were also tracking at a downward spiral of 15% lose per 6 mo period to websites like Trulia and Zillow. So if we would have ignored that fact, and just promoted through, we would have missed out on the current reality where they own just about 30% of the market and Zillow and Trulia share equally with them.

    Pay attention to Linking, but don't lose sight of "The Future" while doing so…great article sir! See ya at SMMOC


  2. I find it interesting that 80% wanted "links to related material," but only 60% were interested in "aggregat[ed] news from around the Internet." Makes me wonder how the poll defined "links" (if at all). I would guess that most people want their links to be curated from all over, but maybe I'm wrong or maybe "aggregator" is just too jargon-y for the average news consumer.

    • Great point, Paul. There are so many ways to interpret those seemingly conflicting numbers. Maybe people think of collectors like Drudge when they hear "aggregator", although reporters now aggregate links to related material and include them in individual pieces.

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