Today, a quick look on Twitter revealed that most of my social media colleagues were sharing this tweet from Mashable.
The tweet takes you to an article titled “Social-Media Traffic to News Sites Has Increased 57% Since 2009” with a nice infographic on Social Media created by the University of Florida Online.
That fact, the 57% increase, is what seems to have captured the attention of Twitter this Monday.
However, after digging out the sources it turns out that fact was originally stated in an infographic from Schools.com (“How social media is replacing traditional journalism as a news source) from April 16, 2012.
More research on that infographic’s sources takes us to the first mention ever of the 57% figure - as an increase of social media referrals from 2009 to 2011 - in the “State of the News Media 2012" written by The Pew Reseach Centre and released in 2012.
Pew, by the way, credits the figure to Hitwise saying that the agency stated that in 2011 news sites in the US got 8,6% of their traffic from social media, an increase of 57% from 2009.
Haven’t been able to find that report from Hitwise, but everything else - infographics, articles, tweets - lead to Pew with a bit of research.
So that tweet from today is actually from 2011, sort of. Infographics are a nice way to display information but if the sources are not clear, could be quite misleading.
Luckily for us, social media professionals, the 57% increase and the 8,6% referrals from social to news are probably small figures now in 2014. Both should be higher. At least we know that Buzzfeed claims to have 75% of their traffic from social.