New Media Index: Bloggers Refocus on the Economy; Twitter Users Lament Twitter Downtime

By David Cohen

The economy was the topic of the most news links shared by bloggers, while Twitter users Tweeted about Twitter, and the most-watched news and politics video on YouTube was Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) physically confronting two men who asked him questions on the street, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index (for the week of June 14-18).

Conservative bloggers’ strong reactions to President Barack Obama’s urging of Congress to approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments pushed the economy to the top of the list of topics of most-shared news links in blogs, at 29 percent. It was followed by: the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, at 22 percent; a warning based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that obesity is “the single greatest threat to public health in this century,” at 10 percent; a BBC report that World Cup organizers in South Africa would not ban vuvuzelas, also at 10 percent; and the investigation of eight House members who held fundraisers with business lobbyists prior to the vote on a Wall Street reform bill, at 8 percent.

A total of 15 percent of all Tweeted links were about the inability to Tweet links, or Tweet at all, due to Twitter’s downtime. The fail whale was followed by: the war in Afghanistan, also at 15 percent; the oil spill, at 14 percent; Google potentially launching its own music service in the fall, at 7 percent; and British 24-hour sports-news channel Sky Sports News becoming a pay TV network after eight years of being available free-of-charge, also at 7 percent.

Etheridge’s scolding was followed on YouTube’s list of news and politics videos by: a 13-year-old girl cursing twice while being interviewed on NBC’s Today about an assault case involving a 15-year-old girl; CBS News footage of a cat stuck in a window in Romania; a montage of soldiers surprising their loved ones posted by; and a comparison of musical performances from Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus.

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