By: Shelby Henderson, NEWSCYCLE Solutions
The news media industry is never stagnant, Newscycle knows that for a fact. As the largest software vendor serving the news media industry, we are constantly evolving to keep up with the needs and wants of our audience. With the already overwhelming amount of content circulating, how are we going to engage our current generation of readers – also commonly referred to as millennials?
The way in which millennials are getting news is quite different than how Gen Xers and baby boomers did. Our first step is to familiarize ourselves with how millennials consume the news and their viewership habits. According to research conducted by the Media Insight Project, 85% of millennials say that staying up-to-date with the latest news is at least somewhat important.
Studies show that most millennials are consuming their news through social media channels.
- According to a research by the American Press Institute, 88% get their news from Facebook, 83% from YouTube, and 50% from Instagram, majority of which is consumed through the lens of their smartphones.
- Other millennials report getting news from Pinterest (36%), Twitter (33%), Reddit (23%), and Tumblr (21%).
Let’s dig deeper and find out what our millennials are sharing amongst one another. Social media has a major influence on what people will share based on what they think their audience will find amusing and relatable. As the famous critic Neil Postman once said, “We are amusing ourselves to death.”
Millennials use their social media platforms to share articles, funny videos, memes, and photos that represent who they are and connect with other likeminded individuals. Studies show that a clear majority (58%) cite using Facebook to find things that entertain them, such as funny lists, articles, videos, and memes. It’s an ongoing power play to share the funnier meme, the latest ironic article, the cleverest caption and our opinions on notable figures and events in the media.
Contrary to popular belief, millennials also follow topics that fit into the “hard news” category, such as politics, civil rights issues, the economy, and more. News media critics previously toyed with the notion that our generation suffers from the “filter bubble,” where consumer choice lead to us being insulated from opinions and ideas that are different than our own. This stems from the belief that one generation relied on the traditional method of reading the paper and/or watching the evening news while the other generation consumes news on their own terms through the lens of a smartphone.
While this may be the case, the study may have overstated the conclusion that all millennials were living in a filter bubble.
- In fact, 70% of millennials say that their social media feeds are composed of a relatively even mix of similar and different opinions to their own.
- Just 12% say the opinions they see in social media are mostly similar to their own.
- A slightly larger number, 16%, say, interestingly, that the opinions and viewpoints they see are mostly different than their own.
The act of sharing on social media is exposing millennials to a variety of diverse opinions and viewpoints from numerous news sources. This exposure invites in this open dialogue from peers who can contribute their own unique backgrounds and experiences to the table.
- 26% say they always or often investigate these different opinions.
- About half, 47% say they do sometimes.
- Thus, nearly three-quarters of these millennials (73%) say they investigate opinions different than their own in social media at least some of the time.
The data also suggests that Facebook and other social media platforms may be increasing news awareness and consumption in ways that even its users do not intend. Take it from Elese, a 25-year-old based in Chicago. “Social media keeps me more informed than I could be with the other forms of news. By quickly scrolling through my feed, I can see the major stories going on. If I need to read deeper into it, I can go to a credible source’s website.” This shows that the act of sharing inspires our millennial consumers to investigate these topics further, thus exposing them to a broad spectrum of news platforms.
Yes, millennials may not be the traditional “read the morning paper with coffee, watch the evening news with the family” generation but they consume news in a way that is adaptable to their lifestyles. As concluded by the world-renowned Media Insight Project, “This generation tends not to consume news in discrete sessions or by going directly to news providers. Instead, news and information are woven into an often continuous but mindful way that millennials connect to the world generally, which mixes news with social connection, problem solving, social action, and entertainment.” Our millennials are restructuring the news media landscape one click and share at a time.
Coincidentally, the Drupal 8 “Easy Social” module is now integrated with our Newscycle ONSET 2017-3 content management platform, enabling content creators to quickly share stories, blogs, events and photo galleries to one or more social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. If you’d like to learn more, please download our latest ONSET customer success story.