Twitter most popular source for breaking news updates: study

MUMBAI: Twitter has changed the way this generation communicates and consumes news. Ever since the world woke up to its awesomeness, it has given rise to a new breed of citizen journalists, albeit sometimes it has been responsible for many fluke death reports and rumour generated news, which couldn’t be verified. 

While its authenticity may have been questioned, the platform still remains the number one source of breaking news across the world.

This is as per a recent study done on Twitter by American Press Institute in association with independent research lab, DB5. Although funded by Twitter, the researchers were allowed complete independence -- from framing the survey questions to observing the trends to drawing the inferences by API.

The online survey sampled 4700 social media users and asked them several questions that reveal their usage of social media, specifically Twitter. The study reveals that news consumption is one of the prime usage that majority of the sample users had for Twitter. 

Twitter users, who tend to be of younger demographic prefer to consume news via Twitter, and 74 per cent of them do so daily, says the report.

The survey also assessed the number of news breaks that have happened via Twitter, and how thought leaders, journalists and public figures use it as a platform to break news.

“Three quarters of Twitter news users follow individual journalists, writers and commentators (73 per cent) and nearly two thirds follow institutional accounts (62 per cent). Twitter users also are very likely to discover new journalists and writers and consequently follow their work, often on other platforms beyond Twitter,” says the report.

This proves as a vital marker for news publishing organisations to use social media more effectively to have a greater impact and reach of their content.

The report also suggests that most individuals usually scroll through their timeline to get their daily dose of news and 82 per cent of them access the site through mobile application. This is an indicator for news providers to make their content shorter and provide more information in a single post.

DB5 conducted the survey between 23 November and 15 December, 2014 and tabulated results, which were further analysed by API to produce a written report.

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