Report: Social Media as a News Source Is On The Rise

A new study from Pew found the percent of Americans getting news through social media is continuing to increase—a trend that could prove insightful for associations.

So we know the share of millennials getting their news from social media is on the rise, but according to a new Pew Research Center report, the same is true for Americans in general.

The study found that the percentage of Americans for whom Twitter and Facebook serve as a news source rose from 2013 levels. Specifically, 63 percent of Americans get news on Twitter as opposed to 52 percent in 2013, and the same percent reported getting news from Facebook compared to 47 percent two years ago.

“This rise comes primarily from more current users encountering news there rather than large increases in the user base overall,” the study authors wrote. “The report also finds that users turn to each of these prominent social networks to fulfill different types of information needs.”

For example, almost 60 percent of those surveyed said they follow breaking news on Twitter, compared to about 30 percent of those who follow breaking news on Facebook. More people follow news organizations, reporters, and commentators directly on Twitter (46 percent) compared to Facebook (28 percent).

The study, which was conducted in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, provides potential insight for associations and their publications.

“The smart organizations are putting their content wherever their members, prospects, and other stakeholders are likely to be,” John T. Adams III, executive director of Association Media & Publishing, told Associations Now in response to a study from earlier this year on millenials’ news consumption. “If their members are on Facebook, they should go to Facebook; if they can find members on YouTube, they may want to consider doing videos; if they can find members through Twitter and drive them, through tweets, to other sources of association content, they should do that. Associations have to adapt and be multipurpose.”

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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