Diversifying Social Media News Channels

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There has been a marked increase in use of social media channels as a means of consuming news, according to a new survey from Pew Internet that was released last Thursday.

The survey, completed in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is interesting from a number of perspectives. For a modern news producer it is vital information. It’s also essential knowledge for marketers or brands that want to get news coverage, or are sharing news items.

Let’s take a look at some of the findings in the Pew survey:

  • 26% of U.S. adults rely on both Facebook and Twitter to have news headlines delivered to their computer, tablet, or phone.
  • Roughly 9% of U.S. adults use at least three social media channels for the same purpose.
  • Facebook is dominant at the moment. “More than half of adults who get news on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube also get news on Facebook,” stated the report. “Aside from that, the shared audience between these sites is relatively small.”
  • About 16% of U.S. adults use Twitter. And about half of them — 8% of U.S. adults — have used the micro-blogging site for news.
  • About 20% of YouTube users watch its video for news (YouTube is accessed by 51% of U.S. adults). “That amounts to 10% of the adult population, which puts it on par with Twitter,” the report said.
  • Reddit — although it’s read by only 3% of the U.S. population — seems to have the highest news penetration, with nearly two-thirds of its users, 62%, browsing it for news.

So Facebook, the platform least embraced by companies, is the largest source of online news, while Reddit has the most passionate audience for news. Paying attention to this sort of trend is an important aspect of your online strategy. After all, after reading this aren’t you more likely to share a news item on Facebook, where it is most likely to propagate? It might be wise to do if you’re trying to create value for your readers.

*Pew conducted their survey between Aug. 21 and Sept. 2, 2013. They interviewed nearly 5,200 respondents.

About George Williams

George "Loki" Williams is the community and brand manager for award wining game company Savage Mojo, Ltd. and the owner of SocialGumbo, LLC, an online consultancy specializing in Web content and online communications. Loki has produced content for clients including the Open Society Institute, National Association of Broadcasters, Kobold Press, and Kaiser Permanente. His work has been seen or written about in The New York Times, The BBC, Air America, The Gambit Weekly, and NOLA.com, among others.


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