It is safe to say that social media has taken over our lives. According to a Facebook sponsored IDC study conducted last year, 79% of people from 18–44 check their smartphones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. Meaning before turning on the TV or even brushing their teeth, people are checking their email and various social media accounts for any news they may have missed while sleeping. It wasn’t that long ago where the only outlet to get news in the morning was through traditional media like TV and radio. Now, things have changed to where people are getting their news from social media rather than watching the news.
As an African-American millennial, I consider myself a “new-age news gatherer.” I get most if not all of my news from my variety of social media accounts. Basically, I’m the equivalent of “cord-cutters” to TV. I subscribe to VICE news on YouTube and check for breaking news on Twitter and Facebook through accounts like BuzzFeed. In fact, I haven’t watched the news for any political or religious issues since 2012. I know what you’re thinking. Why? Because it’s faster and to the point. On most news shows, they have a lineup from their leading stories to stories that aren’t as “juicy”. I used to wait for 30 minutes to see a particular news story only to be mad that I missed it because I was watching another TV show until the news came back on. With social media, those days are over. Instead of waiting until the 9:00 o’clock news, I can search on Twitter and get my news story within a matter of seconds.
As I said before, I get most of my news from social media sites like Twitter and YouTube but does America feel the same way? In a word: Yes. The top three sites where people get there news are: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google Plus. Based on people who use the top four sites, more than 50% of American adults get their news from social media. These numbers aren’t surprising if you factor in how people talk about the news on social media. Fifty percent of their users have shared or reposted stories, images, and videos about news while 46% have discussed news issues and events. This is also one of the ways I get my news from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The big question is: What type of news shows up on newsfeeds and timelines? This is where it differs. Twitter distributes information as it breaks which is something Facebook is currently working on with their trending sidebar on the newsfeed. Nearly 50% of Facebook users see news related to entertainment, events in their communities, sports, government and politics, crime, health & medicine.
With social media use on the rise, expect these numbers to continue to grow. Will there be a time where more people will turn to social media for news rather than watching CNN? Only time will tell. My guess is we are closer to that reality than most people think.