You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Bubbling

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 29 2015


  • More people say they regularly get news about politics and government from Facebook than from CNN or Fox News, the new Pew Research Center annual journalism survey reports. 48% of adults surveyed said they got such news from Facebook in the last week, compared to 44% for CNN, 39% for Fox, and just 9% from Twitter.

  • Another more surprising finding from the survey: 24% of adults say they use Google Plus vs just 21% for Twitter. Facebook users are more likely to say they get political news from that service than Twitter users (62% vs 40%). So-called "consistent liberals" are somewhat more likely to say they get news from Facebook or Twitter, compared to "consistent conservatives."

  • Complicating the "filter bubble" theory, among those people who pay attention to posts about government and politics on Facebook, the large majority--75%--say that the posts they see are in line with their views only some of the time or not too often. But people who are "consistently" liberal or conservative are more likely to say the posts they see are indeed always or mostly in line with their views--47% of consistent conservatives say so and 32% of liberals. Similarly, those two groups are more likely to block others they disagree with, with 44% of consistent liberals saying they have done so and 31% of consistent conservatives. So, some self-sorting by ideology is going on, but it's not clear whether the trend is getting stronger (as this anecdotal story by Nick Corsaniti in the New York Times suggests, saying that the intensifying presidential election conversation is leading more people to unfollow people they disagree with), or not.

  • In 2014, false information about Ebola and Obamacare on Twitter outnumbered factually correct information by an overall ratio of three to one, finds a new study by Andrew Guess of Columbia University for the American Press Institute.

  • According to this report by Sam Brodey and Jenna McLaughlin for Mother Jones, yesterday's riots in Baltimore didn't start with social media spreading word of a crime-spree "Purge," but with police apparently charged up by those rumors stopping busses full of students on their way, corralling them, and then marching on them.

  • Media analyst Jonathan Albright delves into how journalists covering the live events in Baltimore have used Twitter's Periscope app to good effect. (Everything about his piece is great except the notion that, in the age of Livestream and UStream, sharing live news video is somehow new.)

  • Finally, someone says the obvious: whether it's the new Apple Watch or the latest company IPO, no one in tech journalism really knows where anything is going. So says Mat Honan, Buzzfeed's San Francisco bureau chief. He writes, "Anyone who pretends to know the future is fooling you. Or themself. We are barely muddling our way through the present."

  • Vermont's independent Senator Bernie Sanders is planning to officially announce on Thursday that he is running for president as a Democrat, Alan Rappeport reports for the New York Times.

  • Jamia Wilson, the executive director of Women, Action & the Media, which is doing leading-edge work fighting online harassment, talks to Tom Watson about the power of "networked feminism." (Forbes, which has published columns by Watson for three years, took this column down, leading Watson to post it on Medium and announce that he was ending his relationship with Forbes.)

  • Our bright shiny future: Writing for Medium's Backchannel, Alex Howard reports on a new wave of cheap but highly effective medical devices, many of them coming out of MIT's Little Devices lab, that are starting to revolutionize health care, especially for the poor.

  • Bright and shiny, cont.: Stretch your mind forward into the near future with David Roberts of, who starts his tenure there with a great post about where solar energy is going: "Imagine urban infrastructure in which wireless charging is everywhere — in curbs, benches, and buses — in which all electric devices are always being charged with sunlight that's always being collected and stored. Energy distribution could effectively become ambient.Just as we expect all our devices to be connected to the internet today, uploading and downloading information, in the future we may expect all our devices and structures to be connected to this distributed energy net, harvesting, storing, and sharing the sun's power."