News You Can Use From Your Social Network

by Ron on July 6, 2009

cronkite

Social networking has changed the way I get news. When the Michael Jackson story broke recently I first heard about it on Twitter from a friend who linked to a story that Jackson was in cardiac arrest and on his way to the hospital. I went out for the afternoon and heard he had died on Twitter after I got home.

The same is true for the Iran elections. I first heard about that on Facebook just prior to the election. I followed the results online and of course, I was riveted by the reaction on Twitter.

Whom Do You Trust?

My first reaction when I read about Michael Jackson was that it wasn’t true. The news comes fast and furious these days and social networking just seems to fuel that. Wrong news can sneak through all too easily. Last year a rumor started that Steve Jobs had had a heart attack and was on the way to the hospital. Only problem was, it wasn’t true. I heard about it on Twitter and I learned from that experience to be skeptical until I hear confirmation from a reliable source.

You can understand why I was skeptical when I heard about Jackson or even Jobs’ liver transplant (which apparently was true).

Networks Help

That said, in an increasingly busy world, your trusted social network can help filter the news for you whether it’s Facebook, FriendFeed or Twitter. When I gather links for the Friday Five,  I often don’t even have to open Google Reader to find links. I just watch Twitter and get most of the links I need from people I follow. Your network can help you find news you might have missed, links to news and blog posts to help you do your job and in general just help you filter the noise.

The only danger you have in this approach is that you might not get a variety of voices, so make sure you don’t use your social networks for everything, or if you do, that you follow a variety of people. But in many cases, you can get by with a little help from your friends and organize, filter and make sense of the news on your social network.

Photo of Walter Cronkite courtesy of Vin Crosbie on Flickr.

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