Examining the News Habits of Facebook and Twitter Users

Social media audiences are starting to become extremely segmented in how they get their news, how they react to news, and how they share news content. It used to be that online publishers could get their content read based on the basic age demographics assigned to large social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. But those audiences are changing and now publishers need to be keenly aware of how their content will be received by people on social media.

SEE ALSO: Use Social Media to Create a Community For Your Site

The Age Demographics Remain In Place

According to Journalism.org, Twitter is still the social media outlet of choice for people under the age of 35 and Facebook is still appealing to an older audience. But there are two elements of those groups that continue to change when it comes to sharing news. Gender is starting to be more of a factor in sharing news, and the utilization of breaking news is starting to become an area of separation as well.

Twitter remains the social media platform of choice for breaking news, but women have emerged as the dominant group when it comes to local news and events. Local news publishers may want to start taking into account that women pay attention to local news on social media nearly 20 percent more often than men.

But The Age Gap Widens

While Twitter and Facebook have retained their respective age groups as far as audiences go, the reliance those age groups have on social media for getting news is a significant separating point. Approximately 49 percent of all social media users under 35 years of age get their news directly from social media, while between 31 to 34 percent of people 35 and older go through social media for their news.

Political news seems to be a line where the age groups separate in terms of how they get their news. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, people with conservative views tend to rely on one news source and tend to be more passionate about their views. People with liberal points of view tend to spread their news resources around and are more interested in open conversation. But both groups seem to agree that Facebook is the platform to use for political conversation and that would mean that people above the age of 35 are more likely to engage in political conversations on social media than the younger crowd.

Getting Their News Directly

The statistic in the social media study that would interest online publishers the most is the one that sees 46 percent of Twitter users following media outlets directly, while only 28 percent of Facebook users connect directly to publishers. That means that Facebook’s instant news articles are having an effect on how people get their news on social media and the older crowd seems more interested in news summaries, while younger people want news straight from the source.

It looks like Twitter is the social media outlet that is the friendliest to online publishers, while Facebook users seem more interested in getting news quickly and discussing it. Twitter users are connecting directly with publishers and utilizing the publisher websites to get their information, while Facebook users are happy being fed whatever news Facebook decides to deliver. Online publishers looking for a direct audience will find more success on Twitter, but it appears that Facebook’s instant news program is something publishers will no longer be able to ignore.

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