Baby boomer adults and millennial adults now share the same online news consumption behavior

June 20, 2016 / by / 0 Comment
  • SumoMe

It’s official. Baby boomer adults and millennial adults are no longer different from each other in terms of news consumption.

According to a new report by Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds—62 percent—of all adults in the U.S. are getting their news straight from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. It’s a big leap from the same study conducted by the research firm four years ago—though with slightly different questions—when only 49 percent of American adults admitted to getting news from the same source.

This rising number has made the older American adult population ( baby boomers aged 52-70) seemingly no longer different from their younger counterparts (millennials, consumers aged 18 to 34) and have long ditched traditional news sources like print and TV.

What makes the boomers different from the millennials is how they consume news. The boomers seem to favor branded news instead of getting it from various sources like how most millennials do. Millennials, however, prefer the diversified way to just following specific news agencies. This means that most young consumers would just read news from various pages and groups, regardless if it’s from a branded source or not.

In a separate study conducted by News Works in 2015, which focused not only on U.S. consumers, it was revealed that the gap between boomers and millennials had already started to vanish. Due to the growing availability of smartphones on the market, older consumers are now adopting the younger consumers’ habit when it comes to being techy, or simply, utilizing the new technology in their hands.

In fact, these two groups are now sharing several news consumption habits that make them almost identical with each other. According to the study, the most evident of these are their growing fondness for accessing the news constantly, which translates to immediately going straight to their mobile phones especially during free time or when distracted.

They also both track news regularly via their preferred platform to keep abreast of breaking stories. This means that older consumers have already learned that they no longer need to wait for the morning paper to know what happened yesterday or could possibly happen tomorrow. Also, getting an in-depth perspective on a specific story is no longer just associated with educated adults, as even younger consumers would scour various news sites, pages, groups to understand issues better and deeper.

The emergence of mobile news platforms, as well as news curation apps like Born2Invest and Curiyo, is also flattening the once-diverse online news segment. As most online consumers are on mobile, those who are not into social media platforms see news curators as a perfect way to be updated on everyday news in the absence of noise and other non-news related stories on, say, Facebook or Reddit.

In the U.S., Facebook, the most popular social media site for adult consumers, remains the ringleader of online news sources as 66 percent of all consumers get news from it. Next is Twitter, with 59 percent usage percentage, and Tumblr with 31 percent.

Most social media news consumers only get stories on one site—group and page—which happens to be Facebook, which is still the biggest social media brand today.




Leah Marie Angelou is an LGBTI activist, equality advocate, and has been a writer for several feminism-focused groups since 21. She is of African and Taiwanese decent. She now teaches microfinancing to various low-income communities across the East Coast.