Social Networking & The News

More and more people are consuming their news via Social Networking sites rather than traditional news outlets.  This an expanded opportunity for search engine marketers to capture page views via Social Networking without competing with established news companies.

News has had varying impacts on social sites. Reports show that approximately 50 percent of Twitter and Facebook users get news while using such platforms. Users getting news via YouTube is much smaller. It is about one-fifth of the total number of YouTube users. Meanwhile news consumption via LinkedIn is very low in comparison to the other platforms mentioned while users hardly get news from Pinterest.

In studying how people use social sites to get news, the following questions come to mind. How do the different social media platforms compare based on news consumption? How many users get news from more than one social website? Moreover, what are the habits of news consumption among the users regarding traditional platforms? Currently, the Pew Research Center, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation are examining news consumption through social media and analyzing the characteristics of such consumers and their number on 11 different social websites.

Variation in News Consumption across Social Websites

In order to determine the variations in news consumption, the research takes into account the proportion of people who get news and learn about new events through a particular social networking website as well as the total number of users on that same site. Among United States adults, the largest social website is Facebook. When it comes to reading news and about other occurrences, Facebook is the leading social site since almost half of its users get news through it. Reports show that approximately two-thirds, that is about 64 percent, of United States adults use the mentioned website. With half of those users getting news from there, it translates to 30 percent of the U.S. general population.

In terms of the general usage by United States adults, YouTube comes in second. By virtue that 51 percent of U.S. adults use it, it is the second largest. However, the number of its users who benefit from its news updates is at only one fifth, that is, 10 percent of the general U.S. adult population. With about one fifth of the U.S. population using YouTube to get news, that number is close to Twitter users who do the same. The number of adults in the United States who prefer using Twitter as a social platform is at 16 percent. However, only half of them, that is 8 percent, use it to learn about occurrences and other news. Another news platform among website users is reddit. Two-thirds, that is, 62 percent of its users find its news updates useful. The percentage of United States population that uses reddit as a news platform is just 3 percent. As such, 2 percent of the U.S. population composed of adults uses it to get news.

Facebook Leads as a Pathway to News & The Audience Overlap

When dealing with the issue of social media usage overlap among news audiences, the following question will always arise. What is the extent of overlap among news audiences on social networking websites? From the report, based on the top five social networking websites in terms of news access, most of the news users registered to those websites do get news updates from one. In terms of percentage, it translates to 65 percent. From that majority (65 percent), the percentage of users who only prefer Facebook is 85 percent. The report shows that 26 percent of news consumers from the top five social sites use at least two sites. The percentage drops to 9 percent concerning users that subscribe to at least three sites.

Using Multiple Social Sites to Get News

While there are users who prefer using only one site to get news, others enjoy using multiple of them. Facebook is a very likely choice for people who like using multiple social websites to get news. More than 50 percent of adult users who get their news on LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter also do get news updates on Facebook. It is also important to point out that the audiences sharing these websites are small.


Crossover News Consumption on Social Sites & Social News Consumers Based on Demography

There are variations when it comes to news consumption among social websites users. The demographic characteristics include sex, age and level of education. Despite the crossover usage of the sites demographically, each website seems to appeal a different group. For instance, people who use LinkedIn to get news are very likely to be educated up to college level as well as people who earn decent salaries. On the other hand, Twitter appeals to younger people compared to those who are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. News consumers on Facebook are more likely to be females than those on LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.


The Profile of a Social Media News User & Other Platforms and Social News Users

There are cases whereby consumers of social news get news from other sources more than the general population. The likelihood of LinkedIn, Google Plus and YouTube users watching cable news is higher in comparison to news consumers on Twitter and Facebook. Of these two latter groups, those using Twitter for news are the least likely to watch cable or local television channels for news purposes. Forty percent of news consumers on LinkedIn do listen radio news while only one quarter of the public does the same.

Social Media Users Still Use Traditional Platforms to Get News

There are social media news consumers, who still get news using traditional ways like reading newspapers. However, the number is very small.

Social News Consumption and Mobile Devices

Most news consumers on social media use their mobile devices to access the news. This number includes about half of LinkedIn and Twitter news consumers.


Survey Methodology

The above report is based a survey conducted between August 21 and September 2 2013 by Pew Research Center. Adults of age 18 years and above, formed the 5,173 respondents on a nationally spread sample. The same center composed the questionnaire and administered it using its online research panel, KnowledgePanel.

Sampling Error Margin and Sample Size

The sampling error margin was minus or plus 1.7 percent from the questions asked of the full sample, that is, 5,173 respondents. The percentage means that there was a confidence level of 95 percent.

From each of the social site, news consumers were those that said they get news updates on their social site of choice while news refers to information regarding issues that are out of the family or friends circle.