Facebook and Twitter might not be as important for news sharing as we once thought — at least for the time being. A new survey of 3,000 people by the Pew Research Center found that just 9 percent get their news "very often" from people they follow on Facebook and Twitter. 36 percent of people still get news by going directly to news websites themselves, while 32 percent use search engines to find news and 29 percent use news aggregating websites to hunt down articles to read.
Within Facebook, Pew found that 70 percent of people turn to family and friends for news, while only 36 percent of people on Twitter do so. People on Twitter instead choose to follow more journalists and news publications to get news. If you look at Facebook's most shared stories of 2011, you could infer that the kind of stories people share on Facebook are more viral in nature, like "No, Your Zodiac Sign Hasn't Changed" and "Parents, Don't Dress Your Girls Like Tramps" from CNN. Perhaps Facebook and Twitter (which are cluttered with all sorts of non-news links, pictures, and brand pages) are more so "pathways to news," as the PRC says, instead of the news aggregators of the future as some have predicted.