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Digital News Consumption Grows, But Slowly on Social Media




I have a friend who gets all of her news from Facebook. If it comes up there, she’s got it, if not, forget it.

Sometimes it seems like everyone in the US is this way, but new numbers from the Pew Research Center say it isn’t so.

The numbers come from their recently released State of the News Media 2012 report.

This extensive report looks at all the ways we consume news, from TV to print to digital.

Inside the report is a section devoted to Facebook and Twitter. In the past, we’ve seen news stories broken on Twitter and false news stories take hold in an instant.

Pretty amazing, given that only 9% of US adults said they got their news from these social networks. News websites and search were much more popular options. Which leaves me to wonder how all these Twitter fires get started.

When they do get their news, most of it is coming from friends and family. But as you can see, Twitter has a higher instance of people listening to a legit source.

News Everywhere

As expected, mobile consumption is growing. But instead of trading a laptop for a tablet, people are using a variety of devices, sometimes in the same day. Pew says they’re also accessing news more often and staying on longer thanks to mobile.

Pew makes an interesting case in regard to the merging of technology and news. News services are finally creating apps, digital subscriptions and video feeds but it’s still slow in coming.  In order to make a real statement, Pew suggests that news creators are going to have to become more closely aligned with technology partners.

In the last year a small number of technology giants began rapidly moving to consolidate their power by becoming makers of “everything” in our digital lives. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are maneuvering to make the hardware people use, the operating systems that run those devices, the browsers on which people navigate, the e-mail services on which they communicate, the social networks on which they share and the web platforms on which they shop and play. And all of this will provide these companies with detailed personal data about each consumer.

Already in 2011, five technology companies accounted for 68% of all online ad revenue, and that list does not include Amazon and Apple, which get most of their dollars from transactions, downloads and devices.  By 2015, Facebook is expected to account for one out of every five digital display ads sold.

All this raises the question of whether the technology giants will find it in their interest to acquire major legacy news brands — as part of the “everything” they offer consumers. Does there come a point, to ensure the much smaller media company’s survival, for instance, where Facebook considers buying a legacy media partner such as The Washington Post?

Fascinating or frightening? Do we want Facebook in bed with The Washington Post?

With Facebook’s new Interest options, they’re already working toward building an aggregated, personalized news feed by topic. The next likely step is a quick read, graphically-enhanced front page with all of the day’s top story.

Years ago, USA Today was the laughing stock of the business because they used color, lots of photos and minimized text. They were accused of dumbing down the news and look at how they’ve grown and thrived.

What do you think? Does news belong on social media or should it stay in the hands of the journalists?

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  • http://www.directorymaximizer.com Robins

    Yes, social media is taking over the news scene. These days, we see morning newspapers are carrying just stale news that we read ‘yesterday’ on facebook or from a friends tweet. Its the time for newspapers to create their own brand personality. If that happens people would still read the newspaper to get a different perspective/s on a news topic.

  • http://www.comunitee.com/ Don Daszkowski

    I feel like Facebook is getting further and further away from the core product that first drew users to Facebook which is finding out “news” on their friends and family.

    One of the most amazing discoveries made in social media was what Mark Zuckerberg said:

    “A Squirrel Dying In Your Front Yard May Be More Relevant To Your Interests Than People Dying In Africa.”

    That one single discovery caused him to create an amazing platform where the average person can have a podium to announce their own accomplishments, suggestions, tragedies etc. What happened to that?

    Facebook is starting to feel like the Grand Central Station of information. I used to visit Facebook and find out that a friend a baby or visited a great new local restaurant that he or she is recommending I try. That was the value for me… I am a busy person so to find these things out about my friends without calling 250 of them I visited Facebook and I know many others feel the same.

    Now that I have also “liked” so many pages on Facebook these constant status updates from companies are causing my “friends news” to get lost in the noise. In my opinion… Subscribing to more and more info on Facebook will take away from the original “friends news” experience.

    I guess I am also bias because my startup ( http://www.comunitee.com ) is a social news network where users know what they are getting which is news… Not a mixed bag of friends updates, a local update from a friend’s business page that I liked, an update from Coca-Cola, a checkout from a friend, an update from Pampers because I voted for my friends baby in some contest a year ago, news from Mashable :) posts from Robert Scoble, Pinterest pins and now with open graph the list is endless.

    Shouldn’t some information live outside Facebook?

    Cynthia what are your thoughts on this?

    @DonDaszkowski