Postmedia: Mainstream media still tops at influencing public opinion: poll

September 26, 2013
Published: September 26, 2013, 5:33 pm

OTTAWA — Social media sites like Twitter may seem like all the rage as companies, organizations and politicians scramble to keep up with emerging platforms, but a new survey suggests mainstream media is where most Canadians still turn to help shape their opinions.

The survey by a trio of digitally conscious communications, public relations and market research firms shows just nine per cent of Canadians rely on social media as their primary source for news while 80 per cent still turn to television and traditional print and online media. Mainstream television, radio, print and online media were also considered the most trustworthy, though the survey suggests Canadians seek out multiple online sources for information to validate their opinions, including government websites, political websites and blogs.

According to the survey, 42 per cent of respondents said they changed their opinion on a subject because of something they saw online. About 30 per cent were influenced by news stories, 13 per cent changed their mind after reading the comments section below a news story, while 12 per cent were influenced by Facebook posts.

Most said they were uncomfortable sharing thoughts and opinions on social networks and more than half were indifferent when it comes to using social networking sites as platforms for meaningful democratic engagement.

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