If I only had a brain, part 2.

Mr. Brien McHugh's picture

One of my colleagues handed me an infographic today that I found really interesting. (Disclaimer: my colleague has these “charts of the day” emailed to him and I can’t find the original chart to post here. The information comes from “Silicon Alley Insider” listing the source as “Nielson.”) The chart lists the “Percentage of adults reached by type of media.”

Pop quiz: Which medium do you think reaches the most adults? Web, right? Conventional wisdom says that everybody gets everything on the web.

According to the “Silicon Alley Insider Chart-of-the-Day,” here are the order and approximate percentages: Magazines 25%, Newspapers 35%, Web/Internet (excluding email) 63%, Radio 78% and the big winner, Television 95%.

I don’t know what surprises me most – the fact that newspapers still reach 35% of adults or the web reaches only 63%.  The media breathlessly reports the demise of every other medium except their own and, again, everybody gets everything from the web, right?

Aha! Reach is one thing….but actual use is another. What medium do most people around the world actually USE to get their news? Surprise! In a source that I CAN find....TV (53%) still beats Search Engines (38%) and Social Media (33%). Print newspapers come in a distant fourth at 18%

In a frightful paraphrasing of Mark Twain’s quote about statistics, I say, “Numbers suck. Don’t believe anyone.”

Yes, I’m kidding. You’ve got to believe someone, right? So maybe my frightful paraphrase should say, “Don’t believe any ONE.”

The most trustworthy source I’ve found is the gray matter between your ears that lets you juggle multiple information inputs to arrive at a viable conclusion.  It’s called critical thinking and it is a skill that is in short-supply. Practice it. Nurture it. It will help you immensely.

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