Whether it’s scrolling through a Facebook feed, following major Twitter sources for news, or engaging in discussions with users on Reddit, social media platforms are quickly becoming a major source for users to both disseminate and consume news. Twitter in particular is a popular source to discover the latest breaking stories because the micro-blogging platform allows journalists and users alike to publish easy to read Tweets without breaking a sweat. A recent infographic published by the University of Florida Online presents some interesting data regarding social media platforms vs. traditional sources of news, including the fact that 64.5% of Americans will find their news online, illustrating the power of digital media in this era. In fact, the breakdown of where people access news is as follows:
- Online news sites: 64.5%
- Newspapers: 28.7%
- Social Media: 27.7%
- Radio: 18.7%
- Other Print Sources: 6%
Social media as a hub of news is quickly moving up the ranks compared to other soruces and will most likely surpass traditional newspapers, especially with the proliferation of mobile technology. When it comes to breaking major events, social media also proved to be a pertinent source for details, playing a huge role in breaking the following stories:
- Michael Jackson’s death
- Discovery of ice on Mars
- Abbottabad Raid
- US presidential campaign announcements
- Royal wedding announcement
Additionally, blogging platforms are making it easy for anyone to publish news these days, such as your truly. In fact, I cannot recall that last time I read a newspaper or listened to the radio for news; however, I can gladly say that I do use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and popular news sites around the web to digest as much information as possible on a daily basis. As these platforms become more sophisticated and ubiquitous, there will no doubt be more people, including those from the younger generation, that will leverage social media and online news sites to stay up to date on the latest stories.
The infographic below continues a full timeline of social media’s relationship with the news.
Image and Infographic Source: University of Florida