News consumption is in my opinion one of the most interesting topics within social media.
A glimpse back: How often have we not asked the question “Have you heard that….?” Between co-workers and friends, face-to-face or on the phone. Remembering my dad running around at our holiday destination trying to find a German newspaper (and a good excuse reading the “BILD-Zeitung”, because no other newspaper was available). And back in the 70s and 80s when the whole family would sit in front of the TV at five to eight, looking at a clock filling the screen and looking how the seconds were running closer and closer to 8 0´clock when it was time for the news. Then a loud “Gong” and a very serious looking man (I think it was mostly men) would read the news.
And then the next morning the regional print newspaper and that was all we needed… we thought
Things have changed as we know and as the brand new Digital Report study from April 2012 by Reuters Institute shows: Download or read the full study “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2012″ here.
So what is the role of social media in today´s news consumption?
Online news sources
Asking people which of the outlined online news sources one has used in the last week, 36% of US user name social media and blogs. For users in the UK, Germany, Denmark and France this number is only 20 % on average. I think it is interesting that the Scandinavian country Denmark is peaking at 23%. Might that be an indication for Sweden?
How do people find news online?
When Reuters Institute ask how people find news online, 51% of the respondents in the UK said they would browse a news website or mobile site and 20% would find the news via a social network like Facebook or Twitter and 30% from a general search engine (Facebook versus Google?)
Search or social media?
Overall, search is still more important for finding news than Facebook and Twitter, but if one looks at the usage in different age groups, there is an amazing gap between generations.
An amazing 43% of people between age 16-24 are finding news online through social media, compared to only 25% via search engines!
The numbers for respondents over age 45: Only 11% via social media and 33% via search.
A spontaneous thought: Are younger people at a risk for a “tunnel view” when consuming news from friends or sources they follow? Because you normally friend or follow people, brands and organizations you already feel connected with, how possible is it to get a broader picture of the world, economics, politics, etc.?
How people participate online with news
People engage with news in different ways, for instance you can vote in an online poll or comment on a news story. It is surprising how big the difference is between the US and Europe!
As Facebook is the largest social media platform where people connect and share, it doesn´t come as a surprise that this is by far the largest platform people are using for sharing news links. When we look at the age group 16-24, the according number is 71% that are using Facebook in order to share links to news.ZUE