Where Did I First Hear The News? Guess What? It May Not Have Been On Twitter

As an unrehabilitated news junkie, I’ve long been fascinated by how the fragmentation of media still allows the news of the day to somehow seep in. If a few years ago, for most of us, news resources primarily consisted of TV, newspapers, a quick surf of the major news sites, and the occasional radio broadcast, now the inputs come at us in a much more splintered fashion, and from a variety of sources, from Twitter to CNN.com, NewsRadio 88 to “The Daily Show.”

You would think that getting news in so many small slivers would make it less comprehensive, -- and yet, when I go into full-on procrastination mode and waste time checking out trending topics, it’s pretty clear that I’ve stayed up on the news. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve learned this week:

(News items not listed in order of importance, otherwise the Clooney/Wynn brawl would have totally been in first place.)

And that doesn’t count the news from the on and offline communities I inhabit. I’m well aware that the head of Google+ has left the Googleplex, and that Crossfit is apparently opening here in downtown Pelham. Also that the Pixies’ “Gigantic” is now being featured in an iPod ad.

The strange thing is that in many cases, I’m not even sure where I heard about these things. The departure of Vic Gundotra from Google… that news dominated my Twitter aggregator, but did I see it first on Recode? And Cliven Bundy … where did I first learn that he had turned from an out-there rancher -- who is really out there --  into something else? Can’t even remember, though Steve Colbert performed a nifty folk song about it.

But to a certain extent, it doesn’t matter, as long as the sources are relatively reliable. It still adds up to a pretty comprehensive look at the week’s news, but not delivered primarily from a single source. It certainly says something that my one encounter this week with a network news broadcaster was Brian Williams’ “performance” of “Gin and Juice.” I bet that’s the case with you, too.

Which is why I read, with interest, what may be the least significant news to come out of Facebook this week: that it is launching a tool called FB Newswire to help journalists gather news. According to Facebook: “[The Newswire] will include original photos, videos and status updates posted by people on the front lines of major events like protests, elections and sporting events.”

“Facebook?” you ask incredulously. “They think they’re in the news business?” Don’t be such a snob, and default to thinking that news turf is owned by Twitter. While that’s not entirely misguided, it is a little myopic. The truth is that we find news not only on Twitter, but also on Facebook, Instagram and myriad other sources that may or may not be social, each of which has their own angle.

Twitter may be more real-time; Facebook more immediately visual, and as for learning more about Cliven Bundy from Colbert? Yes, it’s in the form of parody, but, there’s nothing new about getting your news that way.

Still, old habits of where news can be found online are hard to break. The first thing I did upon learning about FB Newswire was to follow it -- on Twitter.

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