Earlier this week, Drew Benvie, managing director at award winning social media PR agency 33 Digital (and PR Week Power Book constituent – Ben Folds, if you’re wondering) blogged some thoughts on the latest Mintel report on the state of the social networking economy.
The research shows that across all age groups, four in ten consumers use social networks to keep up with the latest news, with the expected peak with younger members. 62% of 16-24s cite media consumtion as a reason to use social networks. As Mintel puts it: “the statistics highlight the changing nature of how news is delivered and consumed by the younger generation.”
This apparent shift is particularly interesting in light of some related recent research, this time from widget builder ShareThis and StarCom MediaVest. This study looked at the nature of content shared via the ShareThis button, thus representing the clicking habits of about 300 million people on a million-or-so websites.
According to a Computer World write-up, content categorised as “Arts & Entertainment” was shared most frequently, while “Health & Sciences” was the least popular. Perhaps most intriguingly, ShareThis found that 80 per cent of people shared content within only one category.
The surfeit of digital content means that web users are seldom short of material to match their needs and interests, no matter how niche those needs and interests might be. As the means of news distribution changes, it seems there might also be changes in the extent to which people are exposed to ideas and influences from outside their comfort zone.