Forget tuning into the Nightly News, CNN or MSNBC — Millennials are increasingly getting the bulk of their political news from Facebook.
According to this new study from the Pew Research Center, “social media look to be the local TV of the Millennial generation.” They found that 61 percent of Millennials get their political news via Facebook, a number that practically equals the number (60 percent) of Baby Boomers who get most of their political news from TV.
“At the same time, Millennials’ relatively low reliance on local TV for political news (37 percent)…almost mirrors Baby Boomers’ comparatively low reliance on Facebook (39 percent),” the study found.
As for us Gen Xers (I mean, come on, do we even count anymore?), the split’s closer to 50/50. Pew found that 51 percent of Gen Xers get news via Facebook with 46 percent still tuning into TV.
Pew also reports that Millennials “express less interest in political news,” with only 26 percent seeing it as one of three topics they’re interested in, as opposed to Gen Xer’s at 34 percent and Baby Boomers at 45 percent. Millennials also are less aware of traditional news sources, like USA Today, the study found.
The survey was conducted online from March 19 to April 29, 2014, with 2,901 respondents.
“A longer-term question that arises from this data is what younger Americans’ reliance on social media for news might mean for the political system,” concludes the Pew report. “Understanding the nuances of the social media news environment is complicated: The experience is individualized through one’s own choices, through the friends in one’s network and their proclivities, and through algorithms — all of which can change over time. We are only beginning to understand these complex interactions.”
The news supports what major media already realizes. Earlier this year, we reported on outlets, like the New York Times and BuzzFeed, publishing fresh content directly through Facebook. According to the Times, they started experimenting with the new model in May.
“[The] Facebook initiative represents the latest in a series of existential balancing acts,” states the Times. “The social network, which has more than 1.4 billion active users worldwide, captures more attention of mobile users — and prompts more visits to news sites — than virtually any other service.”