Where do you get your news? If you find yourself being updated about breaking stories on Twitter, or reading more lengthy articles on Facebook, research suggests you’re not alone.
According to a new study from Pew Research Centre, 63% of American Twitter and Facebook users regularly get their news updates from the social media networks – an 11% increase from two years ago.
These figures aren’t surprising, especially given Facebook’s big news push and its mobile-focused Instant Articles feature.
News is becoming engrained in social networks and even being shaped by them as it unfolds. Just look at the powerful Twitter hashtags that emerge after almost every big news story that stirs up emotions.
For example, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie was tweeted more than 7 million times and was used by people all over the world as a show of solidarity.
However, where Twitter and Facebook differ is the type of news people tend to consume on them.
Twitter users are almost twice as likely to follow breaking news stories as Facebook ones (59% vs. 31%). A fact that supports the view that one of Twitter’s strengths is its ability to disseminate breaking stories quickly.
It seems that Twitter’s real-time feed has given it the edge when it comes to breaking news. But the 140-character social network isn’t done yet.
Its long-rumoured news feature, “Project Lightning” – which may come to be known as “Moments”, will allow both logged in and logged out users to following breaking stories as they unfold in real-time from the Twitter homepage.
Human editors will highlight the most important emerging stories and aggregate tweets and images accordingly.
The fact that it will cater for both logged in and logged out users emphasises Twitter’s plans to reach more people and will undoubtedly allow it to gain more exposure to individuals who are not yet familiar with the platform.
Suddenly, having a Twitter account in your social media arsenal seems like a no-brainer…