Nerval's Lobster writes: When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed on the runway of San Francisco International Airport July 6, it sparked the inevitable flurry of Tweets. Within minutes of the impact, terms such as “Boeing 777” rocketed to the top of Twitter’s Trends list; hundreds of users began retweeting every scrap of information about the incident and its aftermath. Indeed, by this point, Twitter acting as a crowdsourced newswire in the first minutes of a national or global event isn’t unusual. But according to some new data, the social network isn't going to surpass regular ol' television as people's primary source of news: a new poll by Gallup suggests that, despite the prevalence of social networks, the majority of Americans (55 percent, to be exact) continue to rely on television as their main source of what's going on in the world. By contrast, a mere 21 percent of respondents relied on the Internet as a primary news channel, with just 2 percent citing “Facebook/Twitter/social media” as their main source. That might sound pretty low, but it actually surpasses national newspapers such as The New York Times (with 1 percent) and The Wall Street Journal (1 percent), as well as NPR (also 1 percent). A recent study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow reinforces the Gallup data. Studying 51 million Tweets over 11 weeks in the summer of 2011, and comparing that data with the output from various news outlets (including CNN, Reuters, BBC, and The New York Times), they found that the “traditional” outlets were often faster in reporting on major events.
Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be
lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
- Isaac Asimov