More proof that social media is altering the way news is consumed and distributed: A recent study of news consumption trends from the Pew Internet and American Life Project points to the growing socialization of news content.
For people under 30, digital — and social — is the preferred method to share and get news content, according to the Pew study, which says that one-third of people under 30 get their news from social networks. A slightly higher percentage of that age group (34 percent) watched TV news, but only 13 percent read print or digital newspaper content.
Translate this to the higher education sphere. All colleges and universities are media organizations to some degree. Some institutions are more sophisticated than others, but we all generate tons of content, and we push it out through newsletters, alumni publications, our official websites and our social media platforms, to name a few. Since one-third of the under-30 demographic gets their news from social media, it stands to reason that at least that proportion of our under-30 stakeholders — young alumni, current and prospective students, younger faculty and staff — will follow suit. In fact, it’s a good bet that an even greater proportion of the under-30 people connected to higher ed institutions use social media to get their news.
How are we taking advantage of social media to share our news?
Are we leveraging our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn sites to distribute news from our university?
News-sharing should be a key component of our digital content and connection strategy. Let’s not toss out the good ol’ alumni magazine yet, but let’s think about how alumni news could — and should — be shared via social media to meet the preferences of that under-30 group of alumni. Let’s think about how to reuse content from the employee e-newsletter to communicate with our younger faculty and staff. Let’s remind ourselves that students don’t check email as often as they check their social media accounts.
Let’s start thinking about social media as more than a marketing channel. Let’s look at it as a news distribution channel as well.