More and more news sites are allowing you to personalize the content you are presented with. Good.is – one of my favorite websites – is the most recent example of this. Similar to Twitter, I can follow the topics, people, and organizations that interest me. (Good.is differs in the sense that they are working towards collaboration and action rather than just consumption, but that’s a topic for another day).
In a blog post from Doug Pinkham, the President of the Public Affairs Council, he takes a look at this very issue and considers this selectivity and how it impacts media consumers and society as a whole.
Like Pinkham, at first I had the gut reaction that this is a terrible thing – that people are just going to filter out opposing views and avoid challenging the status quo. However, Pinkham brings up some interesting points that he found through doing some research:
1) People don’t have the patience to personalize their news content
This results in websites using algorithms to determine what content they think would interest you (a la Netflix).
2) Personalization is something news sites can charge for
I’m all about figuring out viable revenue streams for news sites – and if this is something that will keep news sites afloat (in turn protecting democracy), I’m game!
3) Social media can have an impact
Interesting statistic: “38 percent of social network users have discovered through friends’ postings that their political beliefs were not what they expected.”
News is becoming more and more social as people want to be the “first” to break news (even if it’s just among their friends). I can remember whose Tweet told me that Steve Jobs died (@BillKuchman in case you were wondering). And when I catch wind of something happening, Twitter is the first place I go to verify whether or not its true.
Organizations should certainly consider the media consumption preferences of stakeholders when making announcements – both the channel they frequent and the perspective they trust.
While I do think people should do their due dilligence to capture all sides of an issue, the fact is that not too many people are willing to take the time and effort to do that.
So, is personalized and socialized news a good or bad thing? Let me know what you think in the comments.