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The Future of News: Social Media on a Mobile Device


By and large Americans in 2016 do not often read carefully researched investigative stories in print newspapers to find out what is going on: That's only about 1 in 5 (20%) of us, says the Pew Research Institute. The rest put on the TV (57%) or go online (38%), to websites and/or social media. About a quarter (25%) mainly hear about stuff from the radio.

When you break down the numbers by age, an even clearer picture emerges: Young people, more than any other age group, often head to the Internet first (50%), while those age 65 and over by default switch on the TV (85%).


Television and online news sites are both controlled by content producers - although anyone with an Internet connection can stand up the latter. But what about social media as a source of news? Turns out that 18% of adults often tune in to the latter in order to find out what is going on - 62% say they do so generally.

Finally, when people turn to a screen to get their news, they are increasingly likely to do so on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer. Since 2013, the percentage of adults who "often" use a handheld jumped from 21% to 36%.

What does all of this mean to you? If you want to influence what people are thinking, you should find ways to leverage traditional news sources by quoting and/or analyzing them on social media sites. Commentary should be short and sweet, visuals compelling, and the headline is your most important communication tool of all.

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All opinions my own. Photo by Laura Bittner via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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