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Primary Sources

Twitter and Instagram are a place to exchange worlds. You show me your world and I’ll show you mine.

I’m often amazed by the images in my feed from people on the ground in remote places like North Korea, Syria, North Wales, and Reykjavik.

The mobile phone enables people to become primary sources. Citizen journalists create the news. Social media runs faster than the old world of news delivered top-down. No one wants to hear the same news twice.

CNN, MSNBC, Fox, all these networks are bad curators regurgitating what most people have already seen on Twitter. Do I need to hear it again? No, thanks; not unless they’re providing alternative angles and extra analysis which you’ll usually find in The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal in a few hours.

People get their news now either directly or bottom-up from their peers, the same way they do for products and just about everything else.

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“The CNN Effect”

CNN started 24/7 news coverage in the 1980s, what is now known as “the CNN effect.” The inundation of news made CNN difficult to follow.

Before the Internet, people were at the mercy of programming. You couldn’t pick the stories you wanted to follow.

While we can control the news we want to hear about today through Twitter and RSS feeds, the explosion of content makes it even harder to catch what we want to hear about.

Content overflow can turn a person off completely. As a result, a majority of the people just wait for the top stories to bubble up. If the news is big enough, they’ll hear about it.

The way people consume news today is rather lazy, as witnessed by the fact that no one knows or cares to know what RSS is. Despite the advancement in curation technology, still very few know how to use it most effectively.

Today’s content is overflowing much faster than 24/7 CNN. Unnecessary stories are emerging; witness all the fascination with cats.

Define specifically what you want to hear about and dig into those stories so you can make them pertinent to your world. Connect the dots between your resources and your work. The rest of the news will take care of itself.