Twitter top source of breaking news: Study

By: |
Washington | September 03, 2015 6:50 PM

Twitter is the most popular source for staying updated with breaking news among all the social networking sites, a new survey of nearly 5,000 social media users in US has found.

Twitter newsTwitter is the most popular source for staying updated with breaking news among all the social networking sites, a new survey of nearly 5,000 social media users in US has found. (Reuters)

Twitter is the most popular source for staying updated with breaking news among all the social networking sites, a new survey of nearly 5,000 social media users in US has found.

Nearly 9 in 10 Twitter users in the study (86 per cent) said they use Twitter for news, and the vast majority of those (74 per cent) do so daily.

The study, which involved an online survey of more than 4,700 social media users, found that Twitter users tend to be heavier news consumers than other social media users.

Almost all Twitter users are also consumers of other forms of news media, according to the survey carried by the American Press Institute and Twitter in collaboration with research firm DB5.

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, becoming even more participatory – commenting, posting and sharing at moments when events are moving fastest.

The researchers surveyed 3,713 Twitter users and, for comparison, a separate sample of 1,000 social media users in US, including 469 who were not on Twitter.

The findings come at time when Twitter is increasing its emphasis on news and making tweaks that may affect publishers’ strategies.

Three quarters of Twitter news users follow individual journalists, writers and commentators and nearly two thirds follow institutional accounts.

Twitter users also are very likely to discover new journalists and writers and consequently follow their work, often on other platforms beyond Twitter.

As many as 94 per cent of Twitter news users get their news either through scrolling their timelines or browsing tweets of those they follow.

Just 34 per cent of Twitter news users say they get news from trending topics and 30 per cent use search.

More than half of the non-Twitter users have seen tweets, 45 per cent on TV, 33 per cent from friends, 27 per cent in news articles they read, 22 per cent from going to twitter.com without signing up, 12 per cent from search and 8 per cent in a newspaper.

Twitter users are less likely to be TV news viewers, more likely to use search, mobile apps and websites and social networks. There were not substantial differences in use of newspapers or radio from non-Twitter users.

“People using social media as a news source can design their own news agenda — identifying the sources and topics they want to follow,” the researchers said.

“This has led to speculation that people will become narrow in their interests without the agenda-setting influence of news organisations,” they said.

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