Social Media as a News Source

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

A new study by Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation found that more Americans are using Facebook and Twitter as a news source. With more and more people spending more and more time with social media, that finding comes as no surprise.
The stats from the study show that:


  • 63 percent of both Facebook and Twitter users said they get news from those networks
  • 59 percent said they follow breaking news on Twitter, compared to just 31 percent on Facebook
  • The percentages are similar across the board with very little difference among gender, ethnic, age or education groups


According to the survey, most Americans still see Twitter and Facebook as secondary news sources, but there are distinct differences in the way different age groups view the value of social media accounts as news sources. Overall, 60 percent of those surveyed said that social media was “not a very important way” for them to get news. In the younger demographic (18-to-34-year-olds), however, nearly half said it was “the most important” or “an important” way for them to get news.
Digging a little bit deeper, the study found that Facebook users are more likely to engage with political content than those on Twitter – 35 percent of those on Facebook say they post about politics, while it drops to 25 percent on Twitter. (Of course, we all have those social media “friends” who love to let us know their political leanings.)  
Count me among those who now look to social media more often to get news updates, while I still consider the “traditional media” as my main source of news. But it’s easy to see why more and more people are looking to Facebook, Twitter and other social media for the latest news, particularly as we continue to become a more mobile society that expect immediate information.
How often do you look to social media for news? Are Facebook and Twitter important news sources for you?