Is Social Media changing how millennials consume news?

Is Social Media changing how millennials consume news?

By Jess Heaton

I don’t know about you, but I quit the news. I blame 2016 for making me switch off. But I’m in the vast minority for my age group; 85% of millennials say that staying up to date with what’s going on is pretty important. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to know if a gigantic asteroid was about to break through the atmosphere and obliterate the United Kingdom, but I don’t need to know everything.

One thing I do have in common with the majority of millennials however, is how we consume our news, and the majority of us do it through social media. Facebook is where we communicate, plan events, buy and sell goods, go ‘live’ and stay in the loop with world events or things closer to home – so friends, brands, influencers and the press. I have found, through my frustrations on Facebook, that I have unfollowed nearly all of my friends. I don’t want to see any more baby photos or statuses about how amazing your partner is, because he didn’t go to the pub to watch the football. Don’t even get me started on the like button. Once you give someone a little blue thumbs up, you can say hello to every thought they decide to share until you eventually pull the plug on them.

After some careful considerations, Facebook has become my tailored news resource and it’s become a reliably safe bet. I get updated with clever informational videos from PlayGround +,  inspirational speeches by some of the most influential people brave enough to do a TED talk, the latest makeup looks and recipes by Refinery29, the ultimate fat blasting workouts from my favourite fitness babe Anna Renderer on PopSugar Fitness, and some light hearted cat memes, because why not.

So what’s going to happen to the traditional newspaper once the majority of its older readership have popped their clogs? Will The Lad Bible come to represent the latest zeitgeist, confining newspapers to the archives of the National History Museum? What can news outlets do to make sure there will be a resource to suit everyone? How about firstly understanding their readership. If a newspaper on Social Media invited me to participate in a survey to define my interests, I’d be able to choose what I like to read and what I’ll pass on. What I perceive to be unsavoury news will still be distributed, but it won’t be shared with me.

News outlets need to strengthen the quality of their content output. Video is high on everyone’s list, with vertical video deemed to be a huge trend for 2017. When publishers create video content, they need to consider how many people tune in with the sound on. According to Digiday, 85% of videos are viewed without sound. More often than not, if a video doesn’t contain subtitles, I don’t want to watch it. The thought of alarming my fellow tram passengers with unexpected music or sound from my phone makes me want to permanently disable the volume. Can you believe we were once a proud nation of Crazy Frog and ‘Giiiiiirl you better check your text’ alert tones?!

News outlets need to get savvier with what modern readerships want to consume and how they are willing to engage with it. People can now choose to switch off from the latest political unrest, social injustice or financial fallout. To stand a chance, content has to be relevant to the reader, be on the right platform and be set up to suit current trends and consumer behaviours. You might even need to think about adapting the same piece of content to reach a broader audience – it’s working for the film industry and it can work for you too.

If you’re in the news business and you’re ready to reinvigorate your readership, why not give us a call on 0161 236 6659. We can help you create a news feed that people will want to subscribe to. We’ll enable you to get acquainted with your audience, to nurture them and adapt your content to suit them.

If it’s really good, I might even add you to my news feed.

This post was written by Jess Heaton

Jess is the Marketing Manager at myclever™ Agency. She is a lover of food, tea and colourful things. A safety conscious soul, Jess would never lead a rock and roll lifestyle, unless of course she'd read the guidebook first.