New Media News Break: Google’s Knowledge Base, Student Hoaxes, and More


Every week, we post a New Media News Break to help catch you up with what’s going on in the world of new media and get you through the work week. Here are this week’s top stories:

Google Begins Rolling Out Major Search Changes

This week, Google began rolling out “Knowledge Base,” which will drastically change the way we search and use other Google tools. If you search for an ambiguous term, Google will now ask you which term you really meant. The hope is that people searching for cats the animal will no longer see results for Cats the musical. Basically, it’s a way to filter your results. Google will also show you related results (if you like Cats you might also like Fiddler on the Roof). They’re also incorporating an error reporting system, in part because this new web of knowledge will draw from sources like Wikipedia, which are user-generated and often include subjective opinions or misinformation. Check out this video to learn more about Google’s Knowledge Base will work.

46% of Americans Believe Facebook is a “Passing Fad”

For those of us working in the new media industry, Facebook is a part of our daily lives, almost second nature. But not all Americans like this site – and a new study has revealed that nearly half of them believe Facebook is a passing fad. About half also believe that the company’s stock market value is overvalued and only 18% said they were “extremely confident” in the ability of Mark Zuckerberg as CEO. You can read the entire study from Associated Press and CNBC here (PDF). It’s eye-opening, especially if you’re in a niche other than social media/blogging. It’s not that Facebook isn’t important, but remember that it might not be the best place to connect with your target market.

Twitter Introduces Top Stories Emails

Twitter announced this week that users will soon have the option to receive a weekly email with a digest of top stories. This digest will include the “most engaging” tweets from your friends, tweets you’ve liked or retweeted, links that are important based on what your followers are sharing, and more. These emails aren’t yet available for everyone, but will be rolling out over the next several weeks. For content creators, this can be a great tool to see how your tweets are performing, what kind of content your followers want, and how you can make changes in your tweeting activity to better connect with others.

Verizon Kills Unlimited Data Plans, Even for Older Customers

Verizon customers used to enjoy unlimited data, but recently the company has moved away from this model. Still, users who had previously purchased this unlimited plan were not made to change, so many (myself included) have been clinging to their old contract. Verizon, however, has put their foot down and will be killing the unlimited plan altogether in the coming months, forcing data users to change to a limited plan. Why should you care? Well, as a content creator, it is important to ensure that you’re taking these limitations into consideration. If users have to “spend” a lot of data to view your content, they likely won’t come back, at least on this mobile devices. It’s important to at least have a mobile version of your site, keeping in mind that you been to be optimized for these users.

Reddit Catches Student Hoax

A few years ago, Professor T. Mills Kelly and one of his classes pulled the wool over the Internet’s eyes by planning an elaborate hoax complete with fake Wikipedia pages, videos, and expert interviews. He’s at it again, teaching a class where he encourages students to form groups and attempt to fool the Internet. It’s a social experiment of sorts, and one that many, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, detest. This year, though, Reddit users shut down the hoax in a matter of minutes. That should be a lesson to anyone even thinking about lying online. People will find out, so it’s better to always be 100% honest from the start.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

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About Allison Boyer

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.