Posted November 25, 2008 8:19 am by with 6 comments

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While I would suspect that the findings of a MediaPost Research Brief come as no surprise I do think there are some questions that may be considered as a result. To get the gist of these findings the following quote sums it up:

Preliminary findings about these Millenial Generation journalists, shared by the Society for New Communications Research Symposium, showed that 100% of Millennial respondents (i.e., 18-29 year-olds) believe new media and communications tools are enhancing journalism, versus 40% in the 50-64 demographic.

Now it gets interesting. Since I fall somewhere in between these two groups (and please feel free to play ‘Guess Frank’s age’ in your comments) I need to understand this a little better. First, where is the voice of that ‘in between’ group, those of us between 30-49? Would there be a higher adoption rate than the older group but a lower one than the Millenials and wouldn’t it be interesting to know how slight or severe that difference is (or would that make the findings less ‘intense’ which is part of my next point).

Ok, so here’s where I go get to the point that will probably burn some of you up. There are all kinds of fun statistics in this research about adoption rates and how wonderful the Millenial group is because they are the up and coming journalists that have embraced social media blah, blah, blah. What is never addressed, however, is quality of coverage. I suspect you come to Marketing Pilgrim because you get a good feel for the news of the day in the internet marketing space and there is little fluff or sensationalism. Opinions are one thing….this is a blog after all. That’s when this type of communication is good. Well, many of the younger set are drinking up everything that is said and then repackaging it as the truth because they simply may not know better. Worse yet, they may want to just to something ‘spectacular’ to make their mark. Here is a comic for you from this past Sunday from a personal favorite, “Get Fuzzy”. This has readily been swiped from the site which you should visit regularly for a good laugh. I will let the author, Darby Conley, make his point (which his strip does often):

My fear is that we start to replace the truth with information. That can easily be done especially in the sensationalistic world we live in. As responsible internet marketers and business people we have to sift through this with great intentionality and discernment to make sure that what we are reading and making decisions on is actually true. If the data is in fact the  product of an over zealous person who thinks they are getting some nugget of wisdom from another blogger whose intention is to make a name for his/herself , truth be damned, it can be dangerous. At some point, when people catch on that much of social media is noise they will back away and make it less effective. Look at MySpace. Once its market was pretty wide open but now it is pigeon-holed for the very young and spammers because it became noise. It lost it’s appeal to many and opened the door for Facebook, LinkedIn etc. . Same holds true for this dependence on sources that really have no basis in anything other than the author getting ahead. Let the reader beware!

Agree? Disagree? Weigh in.

  • Interesting post!

    I wonder about your fear, “that we start to replace the truth with information.”

    Philosophers have long wrestled over the meaning of “truth” with perhaps the prevailing opinion that there is no absolute truth, but only subjective truth. What might be true to a Christian might not be true to a Muslim, for example.

    Conversely, information is a well-defined concept rooted in scientific principles. Information is absolute and reflects reality.

    Given the limits of our brains’ abilities to interpret such information within the framework of subjective reality, people make the mistake of confusing truth with reality.

    My fear would be the opposite: that we are trending to replace information with “truth”.

    Roger’s last blog post..The naked cocktail party: documenting social online conversations

  • Funny how someone’s words has more “authority” when published on their blog.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..ExactFactor: An SEO Tool Review

  • You have to give to get. What worse, the throttling of free information because all of it might not be correct or the lack of users ability to decide for him/herself what is correct or not?

    I will always go with the later.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Google Publicly Attacking Paid Links Again?Stop Already

  • Great post and so true. I always joke that if it in writing in must be true. lol. When ever I am making a point (having a fun negotiation) I jokingly sometimes say, hey give me just a sec, I will make a blog post about it, then you can go and read it so it will be truth. lmao…

  • Dear Frank –

    Thank you for your post and your interest in the preliminary findings of the 1st Annual Middleberg/Society for New Communications Research Survey of Media in the Wired World.

    Please allow me to address some of your questions and concerns:

    You can download a full presentation of the data and findings here:

    If you and your readers review this document, you will see that we do indeed report that 83% of the 30-49 year-old respondents believe that new media tools and technologies are enhancing journalism (as compared with 100% of 18-29 year-olds and 40% of 50-64 year olds)

    You will also discover, that we not only asked respondents about the tools and technologies, but we also asked many questions about WHY they believed the tools were valuable and how they use them in their work.

    In addition, we asked about their beliefs regarding the credibility of information found in a variety of social media, and specifically if they believed that citizen journalism represented a benefit to journalism.

    As we have stated, this is an interim report. The survey is still open and available for all journalists to take at . We hope many more journalists will share their thoughts with us via this survey.

    Please also note that the second phase of the study, which we are embarking on now, is qualitative and will include interviews with journalists (from all types of media organizations, demographics/age groups). These will result in a variety of in-depth case studies. This combination of a quantitative and qualitative approach to the study will help us all to better understand the trends that are occurring in journalism today. (The full report will be complete and available from SNCR in Spring 2009.)

    Thank you again for your interest in this study. We hope you and your readers will take the time to read the full presentation and the final report, when it is available, and again, we encourage any of your readers who are journalists to take the survey.

    Best wishes and thank you for the opportunity to comment –

    Jen McClure
    Executive Director
    Society for New Communications Research

    Jen McClure’s last blog post..Proceedings from the 2008 SNCR Research Symposium

  • I am sure that the real blogger will not provide false info. Once I do so I stop respecting myself and understand that my work is not worth a penny.