As Social Media Gains Younger News Consumers, More Legacy TV Concerns?

Forget about Facebook, Twitter, and Snap when it comes to around 60% of the average U.S. citizen getting their news -- at times -- from now mainstream social media platforms. More alarming to some are younger news consumers flocking to newer fringe social media sites.

Should we be upset that 32% of 18- to-29-year-olds now “regularly” get their news from TikTok, according to the Pew Research Center?

Maybe that’s not enough for you. How about this: The percentage of those under 30 who are getting their news from TikTok is up nearly three times compared to 2020.

Overall, “regular” new consumers on TikTok are up 43%. Instagram has also climbed to 34%. Those going in the other direction -- but with still strong social media share in news consumption are: Reddit (38%); Facebook (43%); and X/Twitter (53%).



Pew also pointed out that 15% of 30- to-49-year-olds also “regularly” get their news from TikTok.

In particular, you may want to believe that national TV news networks and local news on TV stations are concerned about the next generation of their national and local TV viewers who, in theory, will grow to be the next generation of “55 plus” and “65-plus” core TV news consumers.

But maybe that is the wrong approach.

Now we are determining what kind of transformation mainstream social-media platforms and newer social media and entertainment apps for those key young news consumers are left to consider in the future.

And of course, we are left to wonder where legacy TV -- and/or "mainstream media" (whatever that means these days) go from here. Should there be more of a mix in more lighter news content, or worse, more strident prime-time opinionators pushing us into deeper silos?

Silver lining? We do hear reports of students and activists who are politically aware and determined to seek out facts -- even if it takes some time to reveal the bottom line to uncomfortable truths.

We don't necessarily need to dive into the past to know these legacy TV networks and stations were more dominant in past decades in terms of impact and engagement.

If we were to look back, how did those who watch legacy TV networks now feel about news when they were in their 20s and 30s? Would that give us a better clue about what is to come?

This column has been updated.

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