Infographic: Technology is changing the way we get our news, but is it for the better?
We all want access to more information, but what do we do with all the news that we have?
A new global study into the behavior around news consumption has revealed that we now live in a world consumed by news, with over half of us (52%) "information snacking" on a daily basis, and while this leads us to be more informed, is it all change that's for the better?
Nicholas Carr, in his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brain argued that the way in which we receive our news has become very different, and that there is now a sort of re-wiring going on upstairs so that we're not only getting the news differently, but also processing it totally differently.
He argues that our brains now skip past much of our memory in order to simply get as much new information as possible, meaning that, as we're sure you've often experienced, you end up in the middle of an article or piece of news and have already forgotten what was said at the start of it. While the change is good in that we now have access to so much news and information, there might be a downside in that our brains aren't designed to process it all yet.
However, the flip side of that argument comes in Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives from John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, who notice that those who are familiar with the digital medium use it as a way to find topics they're interested in before digging deeper.
Perhaps the latter is a more accurate portrait of our online behaviour, but what's clear from the research, commissioned by mobile phone maker and smartphone specialists HTC across ten of their markets has shown that there are some definite trends: Almost half (42%) of the 10,000 consumers questioned admitted to checking the news within an hour of waking up, with over a third (38%) also checking the news within an hour of going to bed, meaning that a lot of tech probably comes into the bedroom with us.
63% admitted that there was a greater overall need to be the “first to know” about global news, and nearly the same number (65%) feel they have a more rounded viewpoint on the news because they have access to multiple sources of information and opinions. They've even put together a handy infographic with some information on it, and if you can't quite make it out (it's a big'un) then click on the pic for a larger image.
Sharing news is becoming less common, thanks to the fact that it's so accessible, but local news seems to still be hitting the spot with 30% of respondents saying that see that as less readily available than other news. There's also little concern about the source of news from those in the under-25s bracket, with only 35% saying they considered it important.
This lack of differentiation towards sources of news, coupled with our constant need to be informed, is already impacting how we will consume news in the future. People want to feel that they are part of the news, and that they shape it, meaning that it will need to be even more social, tailored to personal interests and delivered along with other content such as weather updates, calendar reminders, or status updates. Aggregators such as HTC BlinkFeed or Facebook’s new Paper app are projected to grow in popularity as the desire to stay on top of news continues to be of paramount importance to consumers.