When is the last time you actually clicked on a news app or turned on the TV and watched the evening news? Can’t remember? Now, when is the last time you scrolled through your Facebook or Snapchat feed? Seconds ago? Don’t worry. You’re not alone..
These days, everyone from teens to grandparents is spending more time on social and, in turn, getting more of their news there, too.
A recent survey of Americans from The Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say they get “some” of their news via social media. Roughly 20 percent of Americans get most of their news from social. Both of those percentages are likely to keep climbing. Why? Well, the simple answer is that it’s easier to scroll through a newsfeed than to open and toggle between the CNN app, The New York Times app and the myriad of apps for your local TV and newspaper outlets. It’s enough to make a user’s head spin. Social media platforms have become more of a “one-stop shop” that also includes a “newsstand.”
TV VIEWERS GETTING MORE ONLINE COVERAGE
According to TV Newser, viewership across CNN, Fox and MSNBC was down by roughly two million viewers when compared to the same time period during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. One reason may be that broadcast outlets have made great strides in embracing social media as another way to reach viewers. For example, during Hurricane Irma, Univision Miami was simulcasting its content on Facebook Live. The other networks, CBS, ABC and NBC, complemented their coverage by providing additional reports across their online platforms and on social media.
While it may be naive to think that you’ll soon be able to watch all news programming on Facebook live for free, television networks are coming around to the idea that it’s easier for viewers to stop scrolling through their newsfeed on a live event than it is to get them to hit the “on” button on their television remote control.
NEWS & SOCIAL MEDIA
For anyone who thinks that it’s just teens and young adults who spend all their time on social media, that’s not the case anymore. Adults over 50 are spending more and more time online and on social media sites, as evidenced by the latest Pew findings. For the first time in their survey’s history, 55 percent of Americans over the age of 50 are getting their news from social media sites; that’s 10 percent more than in 2016. A report this summer from The Daily Mail found that about half of adults between 65-74 years old now have a social media profile. For those over 75, roughly 41 percent have a profile, nearly double from 2015.
More than two-thirds of those under the age of 50 get news from social media sites; that’s unchanged from 2016.
TRUMP’S IMPACT ON SOCIAL
The 2016 presidential campaign had a major impact on Twitter’s relevance. The micro-blog site has always been seen as a place for users to turn to for breaking news. But, since the presidential election, with a president who frequently uses Twitter as a platform to share his thoughts and ideas, the number of people who use Twitter as a news source has increased by 15 percent.
Twitter wants to capitalize on that. In the past year, the company has worked to promote the potential for news publishers, especially live streaming, which includes Bloomberg and Cheddar.
Twitter is not the only platform seeing an increase in users who are looking for news on their platform. YouTube has seen a 10 percent increase in people looking for news over the last year. While cat and baby videos may still be the bread and butter of the platform, YouTube has added a breaking news section to its homepage.
IS SNAPCHAT THE PLACE TO BE?
If the answer is no, then you’re probably over 30 years old. According to Pew, Snapchat has the youngest group of news users when compared to all the social media platforms. Roughly 82 percent of Snapchat’s users are between 18 and 29. News consumption on the network has also surged by 12 percent over the past year. Scroll through Snapchat, and you will see that every major news publisher has a presence on their feed. Snapchat says it will continue to add new publishers to its platform.
THE FACEBOOK EFFECT
Facebook is still the number-one place for Americans looking for news because of the sheer number of people on the social networking site (roughly two-thirds of Americans). Pew found that about half of all Americans get news on Facebook. When you think about that number, it really puts into perspective the issues around “fake news” and why it likely had such a big impact on the latest presidential election. During her book tour, Hillary Clinton said the social networking site needs to “own up” to the part it played in the election. But, unlike Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat, which have seen increases in users looking for news over the past year, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Twitter have seen the number of users looking for news remain the same, according to Pew.
MULTIPLE SOCIAL MEDIA SITES, MORE NEWS
While the number of Americans who get their news from social media continues to increase, social users aren’t spending all their time on one platform. If you’re one of those people who toggles between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you’re not alone. Now, more than ever before, Pew says Americans get their news from multiple social media networks. A little more than one in four adults toggles between different sites, and that number has nearly doubled since 2013.
As more and more news publishers deliver their content on social media, cutting through the clutter of crowded newsfeeds will become more and more challenging. Luckily for media outlets, social media users’ thirst for news shows no sign of slowing down.