Everyone knows social media are the big thing -- Twitter, Facebook, and a host of others just around the corner and waiting impatiently for their turn to be mentioned by Stephen Colbert.
Adam Ostrow wrote recently about the fastest growing social media on Mashable (cool site). Yeah, Twitter up 2,500 percent in a year. Yeah, Facebook passes MySpace (thank god). Also watch out for Ning and Bebo and -- sigh -- LinkedIn. (I'm not bothering with live links. You can find 'em on your own by using such creative url guesses as twitter.com).
Okay, so the what people know connection? Too easy. As well as being places for social networking and meat markets for checking people out (admit it, job #1), people also pick up snippets of news and other information on these things. My Facebook feed usually includes links and embeds of news stories from around the web that "friends" in my network have posted. Given we tend to be grazers online, skimming a headline here, reading a couple of graphs there, the social network sites become merely another place where we can chomp and chew on a bit of cud news.
Does this lead to quality political knowledge? Nope, not even close, but in a world of talking political potato heads like Sean Hannity we can only hope people glean at little real news along the way.