And for some critics that raises real questions. Assuming our friends are a lot like us – or at least similar in outlook or background – what does this world of "friend approved news" mean for democracy? Are we, particularly the young, just talking to yes men to confirm our beliefs? In the age of customized news consumption, how does one reach outside one's intellectual garden for a broader perspective, much less get a complete picture of what's actually happening in the world?
But, all is not lost, says Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, far from it: "Young people get their news from friends through e-mail and social media, but the [news] links are usually to more mainstream outlets. It's stories from Yahoo, MSNBC, AOL, Google, and The New York Times."
So younger media consumers are not just trading links from Huffington Post on the left or Michelle Malkin on the right. They are going to the same sources their parents went to, just digitally – much like Stine. And, contrary to what other "older, wiser" news consumers might believe, they are actually fairly up to speed on the news.
"In 2008, the knowledge level of younger news consumers was even with the older folks," Mr. Rosenstiel says. "They are still interested in news, not just opinion. That's what the Web has shown us. It was the medium they weren't interested in, not the message."