I’ve said before that you are “the media”. Certainly big cable news channels and other outlets make an impact in our lives, but that impact is increasingly overstated.
I tried to do some math to see how this works out, comparing the largest social network (Facebook) against one of the largest cable news shows (Tucker Carlson).
Determining Carlson’s audience is pretty easy — he gets around 4.3M viewers per night, so that’s where we’ll count him. For Facebook, though, how do you find a metric to compare to that?
- Impressions: A bit too soft. An item flowing through a news feed doesn’t begin to compare.
- Clicks: A bit too deep. While I’d like to use these as the metric, many users are influenced without bothering to read the article and the influence is what we’re looking for.
- Likes: This is what we’ll use. It’s perhaps a bit soft, but if someone took the time to “like” a post, then it’s presumably something that has influenced them to some degree.
As you saw in the title, Facebook sees roughly 4.5 Billion “likes” every single day — that’s roughly 1000x more people liking content on Facebook than watch Tucker Carlson, and he’s wildly popular. The numbers are just silly.
The challenge is in comparing his influence to just one of us, as he certainly has far more impact than any one of us or any of our individual friends. Collectively, though, what we share online has far more impact than “the media” does. The other angle to consider are sites like CNN.com, which see roughly 13M visitors per day — a big number, but still just a fraction of a percentage of the impact seen from users on Facebook.
If you’re concerned that “the media” is failing to cover something, it doesn’t matter. Share and contribute to what matters to you, and the impact will be many times larger.
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