Pew Research’s “How social media is reshaping news”

Here are a few takeaways from Pew’s latest report “How social media is reshaping news.”

  • Facebook is the #1 social network for getting news. Still. (This shouldn’t surprise anyone.)
  • Yes, Reddit might drive a huge amount of traffic, but the actual number of people that are using Reddit for news is disproportionately lower than the traffic might indicate.
  • Non-broadcast news organizations need to figure out how to use YouTube to distribute news. Ten percent of US adults use YouTube to get news. It seems like there is emphasis on short form videos for Instagram, Snapchat, etc – but we need to focus on creating content for YouTube foremost.
  • Engagement: Almost as many people discuss news on social as share news on social (46 to 50 percent, respectively). Expecting engagement around your stories is not unwarranted.
  • Engagement on news sites is NOT high from people that come via Facebook. This is important to keep in mind, and something for every news org to try to improve. Ask yourself: If I clicked on a news story shared by a friend, what can I see that would capture my attention and interest? Try to integrate these elements into your stories.
  • As of this study, not many Facebook news consumers are using the platform to find and share breaking news. It will be interesting to see if this number will increase after Facebook’s latest algorithm tweak.
  • Even though social media is the “it” girl at the party, Pew reminds us that the best way to have an open discussion around news is in person (see their study on how people are less likely to share their opinions on social media than in person). Even though the time investment is higher, it would behove news organizations to emphasize events, like Re/Code has done with their “Code” series.
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