Eight per cent of US Adults use Twitter as News Source

Nov 5, 2013 | Biz/Tech

According to their website, the Pew Research Center "is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends," that affects the US and the world. (Source: PRC)

According to their website, the Pew Research Center “is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends,” that affect the US and the world. (Source: PRC)

by Raúl A. Pinto

Eight per cent of American adults get their news through Twitter on their mobile devices, according to a study published yesterday by the Pew Research Center, made in cooperation with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 


The investigation was based on a survey conducted by both institutions through Twitter and Facebook users, and analysis of tweets related to news events.

Leslie Hughes, teaches social media at Durham College in Oshawa, and is director of Punch Media, a provider of social media strategies. She told Humber News she’s surprised the percentage is not higher.

“We live in an information based society, and I consider social media as an inbound way in getting that information. Right now the people look for quick news, and Twitter can give it in only 140 characters,” Hughes said.

“Some people still watch the newscast on TV, but there is something called ‘the second screen,’ which is the use of a second monitor while watching television. It can be a tablet, a laptop or a cellphone. People are more busy now, and even when fast and short information doesn’t mean accurate information, Twitter is a perfect source that works 24/7,” she adds.

For her, the principal challenge for Canadian journalists in this time is “just managing the content and the speed of the news they provide.”

Alfred Hermida is founding member of BBCNews.com, and co-author of Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers. Since 2006 he has been a professor at the University of British Columbia’s graduate school of journalism, where he teaches many different courses, including New Media and Society: Journalism.

Hermida says the study is “surprising and not surprising at the same time.”

“Historically, Twitter has only been up for six, seven years, and when you look at the graphics, there’s more younger people using mobile, so this matches perfectly,” Hermida says.

He thinks Twitter can offer accurate and deep information.

“Twitter does offer deep news, only in different ways than TV and radio. It’s mistake to think that Twitter is only 140 characters, because no one only relies on one tweet. There’s a whole bunch of messages and hashtags leading you to more information. When you look at one point in the wall that’s nothing, but when you step back you see an entire painting. Same with Twitter,” he says.

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Infograph by Raul A. Pinto