Study shows Millennials would rather sign into Facebook than turn on the television for political news.
There are many stereotypes about Millennials – one particularly popular one is that they do not pay in-depth attention to news or politics. A new PEW Research study, however, revealed that they do follow it to a certain extent and that Facebook is the main political news sources for young Americans. The study explored the news habits of three different generations: Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. PEW defined Millennials as those born between 1981 and 1995, Generation X as those born between 1965 and 1980, and Baby Boomers at those born between 1946 and 1964. PEW reported that the Silent Generation (born from the mid 1920’s to early 1940s) was not included in the study because this cohort is less likely to use the internet and, as a result, those who are online cannot be representative of the generation as a whole. PEW conducted its survey between March 19 and April 29, 2014. In all, 2,901 people responding using the Internet. Major news stories on Facebook at the time included the Russian invasion of Crimea and the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Here are five key highlights that can be taken away from the report.
Millennials rely on Facebook for their news far more than any other source:
The study showed that 61% of Millennials reported getting political news on Facebook while 60% of Baby Boomers reported getting the majority of their political news from local TV. Likewise 37% of Millennials reported getting their political news from TV while 39% of Baby Boomers reported obtaining their political news from Facebook. To bridge the gap between the two generations, Generation X reported roughly equal sources of political news with 51% from Facebook and 46% from local TV.
Millennials are less familiar with many news sources asked about in the survey:
When the study was conducted, participants were given a list of 36 news sources. Results from the study showed that Millennials overall are less familiar than Generation X and Baby Boomers. Millennials were unfamiliar with 18 of the 36 news sources asked about such as Slate, Breitbart, The New Yorker and The Blaze. However, Millennials are more familiar than the older generations with just two of the sources asked about: BuzzFeed and Google News, both digital sources.
Millennials are no less trusting than previous Generations of news sources they know:
Results from the study showed that all three generations trust on average about four out ten sources they have heard of and distrust about two-in-ten. There are also few differences when it comes to which specific sources are trusted and distrusted across generations. 14 of the 36 sources are trusted more than distrusted by all three generations, and four are more distrusted across the board: digital outlet BuzzFeed, and the Glenn Beck Program, the Rush Limbaugh Show and the Sean Hannity Show. Furthermore, there are also three sources that are more trusted by Millennials, but more distrusted among Generation X and Baby Boomers: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Al Jazeera America.
Millennials are exposed to more diverse political content on Facebook:
The study reported that 24% of Millennials say that half of the content they see on Facebook relate to government and politics, which is higher than the reports of Generation X (18%) and Baby Boomers (16%). Results from the study also showed that Millennials and Generation X are less likely to see content on Facebook that support their own political views than Baby Boomers. About 31% of Baby Boomers reported to seeing political posts that are in line with their own views, which is higher than both Generation X (21%) and Millennials (18%).
Compared to older generations, Millennials are less interested in politics:
According to the study, 26% of Millennials view politics and government as one of the three topics that they are most interested in. This is lower compared to the reporting of Generation X (34%) and Baby Boomers (45%). The study also showed that Millennials report discussing politics less often Baby Boomers.
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