Social media platforms have radically altered how news is disseminated and shared. In the latest Pew Research Center survey, exactly 67 percent of Americans report consuming news on a social media platform for the month of August 2017.
In comparison to 2016, users getting the news on a social media channel was 62 percent of U.S adults. This is an increase of five percent from the previous year, and this growth shows an influential role from social media sites.
The Pew Research Center surveyed nine social media platforms: Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp.
Three sites that saw news usership increase were Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. Microblogging site, Twitter, saw its share of news usership grow from 59 percent to 74 percent. YouTube followed closely with its share expanding from 21 percent to 32 percent. Snapchat also saw a significant boost from 17 percent to 29 percent.
It is very possible that the spike in growth for Twitter is due to the American elections that occurred last year. In addition, the daily use of Twitter by President Donald Trump has attracted users and media organizations to constantly monitor it for updates.
According to the Pew Research Center, “Growth on these three sites follows investments the companies have made over the last year in developing their news usability.” In other words, Twitter has launched news streaming services and landed partnerships with news publishers. YouTube has also unveiled YouTube TV for breaking news, and Snapchat has worked closely using its Discover page with media organizations (CNN, NBC, New York Times).
The remaining social media companies like Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and LinkedIn had no changes in news usership. Facebook surprisingly with the largest number of monthly active users (2 billion) remained the same at 68 percent of news usership on its platform.
For the first time, WhatsApp was a source of news in this detailed study. The cross-platform instant messaging service for smartphones was a source of news for close to a quarter (23 percent) for participants.
In the history of the nonpartisan fact tank (Pew Research Center) conducting these surveys, it found for the first time that 55 percent of Americans ages 50 and older are turning to social media for getting the news. This is an increase of 10 percent and up from 45 percent in 2016.
Aside from Americans accustomed to using digital devices (tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc.) to login on social media, they are also actively checking for news happenings. Conforming to the Pew Research, 26 percent of U.S adults are getting the news from two or more of these social media channels.
A lot has changed with the traditional media enterprise. Once upon a time, news was printed in newspapers. Commentary was carried out on radio and broadcast TV news channels covered current events. Nowadays, the widespread use of technology, internet, and social media has revamped the entire news industry.
The data compiled in this report was conducted from August 8 to August 21 from 4,971 respondents. The margin of error for the sample was plus or minus 2.5 percent.
[Featured Image by Poland Belchatow/Shutterstock]