New research from Ofcom has found that more and more teenagers are disregarding traditional news outlets and instead looking to get their fix for news on social media.
The study found that the number of people consuming news content on TikTok has increased from 800,000 to 3.9million in just the last two years alone. That’s a rise of more than 300%!
Not only is TikTok proving popular with teens for news, but for the first time ever Instagram is the most popular news source among younger people. It’s used by a massive 29%, with TikTok and YouTube taking up the silver and bronze medals.
However, regardless of all that, traditional news outlets, such as print, TV and radio are still the ‘go to’ for older age groups when it comes to digesting news.
I think a key reason why the likes of TikTok and YouTube are showing promise in the world of news is largely down to just how popular video content is on social media. A survey by global marketing firm Insivia found that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.
Another factor for the success of news on social media is just how quickly a story can be put out to a mass audience – it literally takes seconds. Gone are the days where a journalist has to fine tune their breaking story, even before the sub-editors and headline writers get their hands on it. They can now fire out as much news as they like in a short, succinct manner and the youth of today love it!
Also, how can we forget that social media is effectively a place where anyone can become a journalist?! In the blink of an eye your next-door neighbour could have posted something on a platform that millions of people automatically perceive as fact. Especially as the user has likely caved in to the urge to swipe to the next video before doing any due diligence or seeking out opposing stories or points of view.
All this had me thinking about how I digest news and I guess I’m a bit of an anomaly. Being a PR professional, I naturally consume news in various forms. It’s my duty to stay on top of the news agenda, and I do so in many different ways. Having said that, I definitely see where the younger generation is coming from, I’ve consumed my fair share of news from the likes of Twitter and Instagram and I often find these platforms are quicker to the punch than traditional outlets.
However, that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate some ‘old school’ journalism, because believe me, I do, and I’m not just saying that because I speak with them every single day. There’s a real skill to elite journalism and I think there will always be a place for it in society but there has definitely been a seismic shift over the past couple of years, a shift that doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.
It’ll be interesting to come back to this blog in two years’ time and see how things change, because there’s no denying they will have. The digital world is so fast-paced and as it evolves every single day, so will the news. What that means for news on social media and for traditional outlets I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to seeing it unfold.