A new study released this week from the Pew Research Center details a major tipping point in news consumption, as more Americans turn to social media to get informed. A staggering 6-in-10 respondents reported getting news from social media, with 1-in-5 reportedly using social media “often” to consume news. That number is up from roughly half of respondents reporting that they get news from social media just four years ago. Think about it—in just one presidential term the way American’s consume news (and likely what’s considered news) has drastically transformed.
The results of the study offer interesting insight into the consumption habits of those getting their news from social media. Of those who use Facebook, two-thirds of people said they got news from the site, followed closely by Twitter with 59% of respondents getting news from the microblogging site. Surprisingly, Reddit is tops with 70% of users going to the site for news. But it should be noted that Facebook and Twitter have much larger audiences. Of much smaller significance, only a fifth of respondents admitted to getting news from Instagram, YouTube, or Linkedin. However, 17% claimed to get news from Snapchat. This is interesting given Snapchats overwhelmingly young audience dominated by millennials.
Perhaps the most useful findings for media companies are packed into this table (left). The majority of Instagram (63%), Facebook (62%), and YouTube (58%) users said they stumbled upon news on the respective sites. These users are passive consumers of news on social media. The demographic split (Facebook leaning more middle-aged while Instagram is far younger) makes this stat hard to draw correlations from. Conversely, a majority of Linkedin, Twitter, and Reddit users reported to actively searching for news on the sites. As social media maven Sree Sreenivasan explains in an article with Mashable, media outlets should be reminded “about the importance of being on various platforms and connecting with them there.”