Among all social networking platforms, micro-blogging site Twitter is the top source for users when it comes to breaking news, a new online survey of more than 4,700 social media users has revealed.
Nearly nine in 10 Twitter (86 percent) users in the survey said they use Twitter for news, and the vast majority of those (74 percent) do so daily. “Roughly the same number of people reported that they use Twitter to be alerted to breaking news (40 percent) as to keep up with the news generally (39 percent),” said the survey conducted by the American Press Institute and Twitter in collaboration with research company called DB5.
Twitter users tend to be heavier news consumers than other social media users. “News, indeed, is one of the primary activities that they engage in on the network. Twitter users also tend to be younger than social media users in general,” the findings revealed. Three-quarters of Twitter news users follow individual journalists, writers and commentators (73 percent) and nearly two-thirds follow institutional accounts (62 percent). Twitter users also are very likely to discover new journalists and writers and consequently follow their work, often on other platforms beyond Twitter, the survey indicated.
The Twitter users tend to use the service heavily – several times a day – and their use of the network is increasing how much news they consume. “Almost all Twitter users are also consumers of other forms of news media,” a statement by the American Press Institute read. While Twitter users follow news in general on the service, and sometimes do so just as a way of passing time, they act differently when they are following breaking news.
They become more participatory – commenting, posting and sharing at moments when events are moving fastest. “All of these offer signals for how news publishers can make more effective use of social networks in general and Twitter in particular,” the results showed. Nearly 94 percent of Twitter news users get their news either through scrolling their timelines or browsing tweets of those they follow. Other features are used far less often. For instance, just 34 percent of Twitter news users say they get news from trending topics and 30 percent use search. About 82 percent of Twitter users access the platform on their phones and many access Twitter across multiple devices.
The findings come at time when Twitter is increasing its emphasis on news and making tweaks that may affect publishers’ strategies, the authors concluded.