In an article by CBS called “Millennials Rely On Social Media For News“, it describes the result of a survey that shows that younger populations are increasingly relying on social media for news sources, rather than traditional means like newspapers and the nightly news. While this is nothing new, the article looks at the implications of the changing industry.
“The survey of Americans ages 18 to 34, sometimes called the millennial generation, found that two-thirds of respondents said they consume news online regularly, often on a social networking site. Of those, 40 percent do so several times a day, according to the poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.”
This trend in news consumption affects mostly Millennials, but is occuring increasingly more in older generations as well. I personally think this is both positively and negatively affects young people.
Only 39 percent of the survey respondents said they typically actively seek out news, while 60 percent said they mostly “bump into” that type of content as they do other things on Facebook and other sites. That certainly could be seen as passive consumption.”
News is no longer something that we make a conscious effort to consume. Its now a passive effort, we set up news alerts on our phones and check out stories on Facebook. Although I don’t believe that means that we consume the news any less, just in a different way.
On a positive note, social media has allowed the news to become a social act. For example, when someone is reading an article in the newspaper, it does not invite a conversion. You are simply consuming “as is”. You may go and tell a friend about it, but if they didn’t consume it themselves, can it truly be a two way conversation? Now people post articles online and discuss with their networks the validity and the content of the article. Millenials are learning from the news, but also learning from eachother’s interactions and conversations.
Also, now that news sources are coming in from”lesser known” sources, it seems as if people are becoming more skeptical of news articles. Even the most respective news sources contain some sort of biases in their articles and its an important lesson for news consumers to learn: to be able to form one’s own views and opinions based on the information presented. News editors used to be the ones to judge an articles credibility, but with the advent of the news being transferred to the internet, its now up to the consumer to determine an article’s credibility.
On a more negative note, when Facebook or other social media networks are relying on algorithms to decide what you might like to consume, are you closing your mind to articles outside of your “percieved” interests? Also, if a person simply surrounds themselves on social media with their close friends who have the same viewpoints as themselves, then the articles they share with one another will not provide an overall view of the topic at hand.
I think there are both positives and negatives to the new trends in news consumption, but overall, I believe that younger generations are consuming news through many more outlets than ever before. The impact of this is that millenials are well informed and consume the news with a critical eye in order to form one’s own opinions.