Whether it was reading the daily paper or watching evening television broadcasts, past generations dedicated a distinct portion of their lives to consuming news through traditional media vehicles. However, with the advent of modern technology, time has become a commodity, and a new generation — millennials — are consuming their news on the go.
Millennials are often drawn to news that is recommended by their peers in the social media cybersphere. According to Pew Research Center, 88% percent of millennials use Facebook, 59% use Instagram, and 36% use Twitter. And, contrary to popular belief, it is reported that 64% of those surveyed regularly keep up with what’s going on in the world encountering the majority of their news through social media.
In fact, 85% of millennials say that staying up-to-date with the latest news is somewhat important, despite preconceived notions that they no longer care about the news.
Why? Millennials don’t simply absorb the news as a bystander; they now are capable of shaping their worldview through the rise of social media.
The variety of topics consumed by millennials are varied and comprehensive, despite having been defined as a “newsless” generation. While millennials prefer digital news because it is easily accessible, they primarily gravitate towards the range of viewpoints that are not offered through traditional media outlets.
Historically speaking, Americans don’t engage with material that challenges their opinions, and national publications — that are technically supposed to be unbiased — often lean towards a particular viewpoint. Social media offers diversity, which appeals to millennials because it is framed within a broader social context.
Not only are millennials drawn to the variety of opinions afforded by social media, but they tend to trust people they know over political figures or famous newscasters. In fact, millennials are twice more likely than baby boomers to favor receiving news from people who aren’t authority leaders; information relayed through a friend or follower appears more honest and reliable.
Millennials are consuming the news differently than their forbearers, which, for some, may be difficult to accept. Regardless, “differently” is not synonymous with “never”; the millennial generation is simply reshaping the news industry and forcing it to adapt to modern technological standards.