Pew’s annual State of the Media report reveals some interesting data on the relationship between social media and digital news consumption in America.
The study found that half of Facebook and Twitter users find news while on the social networks, whereas sites like Instagram, Tumbler and LinkedIn had far lower percentages. Overall, three in 10 Americans now find news on Facebook.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that people are going to Facebook specifically to find news, though, as 78 percent of users come across news while they are on the social network for other reasons. About 34 percent of Facebook news consumers “like” a news organization, journalist or commentator, and in terms of news topics, entertainment is the most popular on Facebook, followed by community events, sports and politics:
Meanwhile on Twitter, Pew noted how overall tweet sentiments can differ from that of public opinion. For example, shortly after the Newton shootings in Connecticut, those on Twitter felt much more supportive of gun control than those polled by Pew:
Pew also looked at what types of people consume news on specific platforms, finding that there are more female news consumers on Facebook, while Twitter attracts a higher percentage of 18-to-29 year-olds than any other service:
And while Facebook and organic search have become important for news organizations looking to increase page views, Pew noted how engagement times on news websites drop dramatically when people arrive at those outlets via social media:
The study also found that social media has enabled more people to become newsmakers themselves, with 14 percent noting that they’ve posted a photo taken of a news event. The report analyzed several other aspects of American media consumption habits, from television to new ways of storytelling. Check out the full study here.