How Social Media has Changed the way Millennials Consume News

Written by Lucy Fordyce

As many Millennials can understand, our day to day schedules are usually packed to the brim balancing university, paid work, internships, a social life, the list goes on. So when we do get a spare 30 minutes to ourselves, it is unlikely that we will dedicate our full attention to a news segment on television or sit down to solely read a newspaper. This contrasts with older generations who tend to set aside time each day to consume the news. Instead, we incorporate our news reading time into our social media scrolling and dedicate our free time to do other things we enjoy like online shopping, gaming, emails, streaming music and music. 

According to 60% of Millennials say they come across news when they are engaging in other activities, most often on social media. The Deloitte Media Consumer Survey conducted in 2018 revealed that there has been an increase in the number of people turning to social media as their primary news source (17% up from 14% the year before), with the figure highest among Millenials (28%).

Another noteworthy statistic was the fact that technology is driving multitasking. 96% of Millennial respondents on the Deloitte Media survey revealed that that multitask on their smartphones whilst watching television or being on our tablets. This passive consumption of news may lead to consequences regarding the ways in which we engage with news.

Facebook and Twitter remain the primary social media platforms for news consumption within the Millennial market. The Pew Research Centre found that 44% of people receive their news from Facebook, making it the most common platform for Millennials to find news, specifically government and politics. Twitters real-time nature makes it a popular source of news consumption. Millennials can consume the news as it breaks and quickly find users reactions, commentary and links to further information. These platforms offer an alternative to scrolling through long articles on news websites, where major stories are summed up and accessible through a few taps.

Outside of these two platforms, satirical news such as the renowned Beetoota Advocate which has proven to be extremely popular with Millennial audiences. These formats of news prove to be more welcoming than traditional forms, funneling current events through a satirical lens. The Beetoota Advocate has enraptured a young cohort of internet savvy individuals with a taste for digital news sources. Combine this with a significate propensity for social media use the wild success of the platforms Facebook-driven traffic was inevitable .

The landscape of news consumption is changing rapidly, as publishers work to keep Millennials engaged. With Millennials reliance on social media as a primary news source and their passive consumption behavior combined with the revelation of fake news on social media, this poses a real danger of not filtering fact from fiction  Especially given that the Deloitte Media Consumer Survey ( that 62% of respondents are concerned about fake news. This is one of the main downfalls of attaining news from social media platforms, however it is the convenience of it that remains paramount. With Millennials commonly comprising short attention spans, slowing down to fact check and credible news sources is becoming more important then ever. The reliance on social media for news consumption is an important avenue that we should examine when considering the future of journalism.

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