By Kevin O'Keefe

Study: Most Americans get their news from social media


What would have been unimaginable a few years ago is now official. Most of of the people in this country get their news from social media.

Those are the findings of a new study published by the Pew Research Center. Whether from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or YouTube, 62% of all Americans get news from social media.

The use of a social network for news varies by network.

News from Social media

Though the percentage of Reddit users getting news is greatest (70%), Facebook dominates in delivering news via social media. Facebook, reaching 67% of U.S adults is by far the largest social network. The two-thirds of Facebook users getting news there amounts to 44% of the general population.

Again taking into account total users and the percentage using the social network for news, YouTube and Twitter come in second with about 10% of the population using the respective social networks for news.

Social media for news

Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s just kids getting their news on social networks. About 40% of those age 30 to 49 get news on social networks. It’s close to 25% of those age 50-64.

Social media news

Though social media news consumers still turn to traditional media for news, the numbers are dropping. Only 15% of those getting news on Facebook, or about one-half of all Americans, turn to a newspaper for news. Over twice as many look to local TV news or a news website or app.

Use social networks for news

What’s it all mean for lawyers and law firms?

  • If you’re not personally using social media for your news, you are in the minority and growing increasingly out of touch with your clients.
  • Getting referenced or published in the traditional news media such as a newspaper is no longer as valuable for growing one’s reputation. Public relations on this front may not offer the return it once did.
  • Doors are opening. No longer is it necessary to go through an intermediary such as a reporter, editor or publisher for reporting news and information to grow your reputation. Self publishing a niche site or blog, news from which spreads virally across social media, is an opportunity awaiting.
  • Social media is becoming increasingly more important for distribution and syndication of the news and information you publish. Lawyers, through their personal use of social media, will need to build a network of trusted followers and friends on social networks for the engagement and distribution of their content.
  • Lawyers feel comfortable on LinkedIn. However, other social networks not being harnessed by law firms, including Facebook, YouTube and even Instagram offer opportunities for sharing news and information.

No question that the trend of people getting their news and information from social media will continue to grow. The number of users who get news on Facebook and LinkedIn jumped 50% in the last two years.

Getting our news and information by word of mouth from others we trust as we hang out in public places. It’s not really all that strange, we did it a couple hundred years ago.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Michalczuk

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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