Mass News Readers Emerging From All Corners of the Web: Why Social Media is a Real News Source

Jun 27, 2013

People are now consuming news in bulk and faster than ever. That’s according to a study conducted by Mobiles Republic, a global news syndication company, based off the feedback of more than 8,000 of its News Republic app users.


This “news snacking” phenomenon indicates that the public is turning to their portable devices for their daily dose of news. Smartphone users and tablet owners ranked in the top percentage of people who checked in more often to their social media-based news resources.

Frequency and pace are now key factors in quenching people’s thirst for knowledge. The study found that while traditional news mediums – radio, television, newspapers, and print magazines – were being digested in less than 30 minutes once a day, digital device users were on top of more news stories during several parts of their day.

So what’s causing this new epidemic? Character limits. These small units of information that are shot into cyber space are readable within seconds. Then it’s on to the next one and so a vicious cycle forms. Checking your phone for tweets and statuses is no longer just frivolous. People are making the most of their leisure time by keeping abreast on more of their interests and news in quicker and shorter intervals.

Social media is not only providing the news but it’s also the go-to platform for discussions about trending stories, making Twitter and Facebook real news sources. Further fueling these findings is a report released by the State of the News Media which reveals that between the two, Facebook leads in terms of where users derive their news from. It’s no wonder Twitter’s 200 million users fall short in comparison to Facebook’s community of 1.11 billion.

Despite the growing rate of social media-driven news, aggregators received the most action from those surveyed coming in at a 73%, up from 33% a year ago. According to 82%, accuracy was the most important factor when it comes to news, followed by fresh and free information, both at 57%.

Another study conducted by Oriella PR Network, an alliance of public relations agencies, showed that 59% of journalists worldwide are using social media platforms to both gather and distribute news stories. That’s up 12% from the 2012 report that analyzed usage from 14 countries: Canada, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, Sweden, Russia, the UK and the US.

The most recent example of this “news snacking” boom is Instagram’s launch of the video feature.  Just last Thursday, the company introduced a 15-second recording capability to its 130 million foodies, pet lovers, sunset gazers, and filter aficionados. Five million videos were posted within the first 24 hours.

Accustomed to the limited time lengths, brands quickly jumped on the wagon to make use of their new marketing tool. Burberry, Maybelline, Gap, Red Vines, Jeep, General Electric, New York Yankees, Charity Water, and Visit Copenhagen were just some of the companies feeding followers with their promotional videos.

With our attention span steadily shortening, 140 characters and 15-second videos are providing one more way to inform web users in minimal time. Social networking sites are proving their worth as a crucial source for the news hungry generation.

Check out the “News Snacking” infographic by Mobiles Republic here then continue the conversation in the comments section or by sharing this article online.  Follow ThinkInk on Twitter and Facebook for daily industry updates and interesting reads.

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