Millennials and News Consumption
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This guest blog post was written by Kristin Furjanic.
Today’s newsfeeds cater to our short attention spans and busy work schedules. They are media-rich, plugged with short links and simple titles, and easily sharable. ‘The News’ (cue witty ‘Anchorman’ quote here) is no longer solely reliant on television producers and wardrobe touch-ups, it has turned into a singular flow of ongoing information via the wonderful World Wide Web – wait, do they still call it that? It’s a constant buzz; however, occasionally your ‘buzzfeed’ is bombarded by American Apparel ads, your best friend’s mom’s photos of her dog and engagement/baby announcements. Traffic is no longer just a noun that clogs the roads during rush hour, but also something that slows up your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and FourSquare newsfeeds during times of high-volume. That’s right Generation X, the Pope is tweeting and the First Lady has a Facebook page… when did we start thinking in 140 characters or less?
Many educators and publications have pegged millennials (also known as Generation Y, or those born in the 1980’s – present) as being uneducated, uninformed and lazy. I believe that they have failed to touch on the progression of social media, not only as a news source, but also as a tool that allows millions to stay plugged in 24/7. As it turns out, millennials are still getting news – just not in the “traditional” format that Generation X (typically those born after the Western Post-World War II baby boom) might be more familiar and comfortable with. These “non-traditional” formats vary from smart phones, the Internet, television, etc.
Social media has completely changed the way that millennials consume news and plays a huge role in fostering discussion and debates amongst peers. Twitter, for example, has become a legitimate news source where people can follow politicians, industry/world leaders and mass publications. It allows for interaction and conversation via retweets, tweets and tags, and has its very own embedded search tool, otherwise known as the #hashtag, which inevitably provides a link to further discussions or mentions on a specific topic. Facebook has recently welcomed the #hashtag as well, and has revamped their layout (yet again) in order to stay relevant and tailor profiles to the likes/dislikes of each user. Sites like Reddit, Buzzfeed, Gawker and Jezebel all provide a lengthy stream of the latest news titles and blurbs that allow users to scroll down the feed at leisure and choose what interests them at that time.
In addition, comedians such as John Stewart, Steven Colbert and Conan O’Brien, also provide millennials with news and political insights. Laced with satire, these shows have become a primary part of the young generation’s news consumption. However, studies show that they aren’t fully reliant on these sources to stay knowledgeable. A Comedy Central study in 2012 revealed that millennial are indeed informed and that these sources are actually just outlets in which they soak up varied perspectives on domestic and worldly issues. Access to news sources such as these, reach Generation Y and provide a medium to further engage young people, be it that the content is not only comical, but also highly viral.
The social media revolution has proved that millennials are an integral element not only in the paradigm shift towards instantaneous news access, but also in the social fabric of today’s society. No, we will never abstain from reading The Onion, but we will continue to be engaged with the current global forecast. It’s a ‘buzzfeed’ world out there, and we’re just living in it.
– Kristin Furjanic is a freelance Brand Manager for TalkLaunch Digital Agency in Denver, CO. Also a member of the American Marketing Association of Colorado, she volunteers on their Sponsorship Team. Find her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristinfurjanic Find her on Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/pub/kristin-furjanic/25/b01/379/
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