Preliminary results of a social media news survey conducted by TEKGROUP International and Associate Professor Ken Payne of Western Kentucky University seem to underscore the importance of the online newsroom to corporate communicators. The survey - which specifically measures acceptance, attitudes and use of social media tools to follow, share, and post news and information - has garnered more than 400 responses to date and is scheduled to continue through June 1.
A telling indicator for the corporate world, more than 42% of respondents indicate they make use of corporate websites when following, sharing or posting news and information with 26% saying they visit very often and 17% all the time. And possibly more important for those looking to scale back their online newsroom budgets, fewer than 10% of the respondents say they never reference press releases when following, sharing, or posting news and information with more than 40% indicating very often (23%) or all the time (18%) use of the PR staple.
“This finding specifically supports the notion of symmetry between social news and online newsroom content,” said Steve Momorella, Partner and Co-founder of TEKGROUP International, Inc. “What we are seeing is news consumers using the corporate online newsroom as a principle source for information when following or sharing news using social media tools. And they are doing this in huge numbers.”
Also on the corporate plate, almost 75% of survey respondents indicate they frequently (32%) or sometimes (42%) visit a corporate web site after learning of a news story through social media channels with roughly half of all respondents saying they sometimes (32%) or frequently (18%) use social media tools to fact-check corporate websites and press releases.
“As reported in other social media surveys, our respondents indicate they are using social media tools habitually with almost 90% saying they use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs on a daily basis to follow/monitor news and information,” said WKU Professor Ken Payne. Slightly less say they use the tools to share/recommend daily news and information (70%), with even fewer writing/posting news and information using social media tools (60%).
“This finding is even more interesting when compared to the low number of respondents who use the tools for other daily tasks such as research job opportunities (15%), find a place to live (4%), find someone’s contact information (14%), or find directions (15%),” Payne continued.
So how important have social media tools become for the news and information industry? Survey respondents see this as a no-brainer with almost 88% responding favorably for following/monitoring news, 94% for sharing/recommending news, and 87% for posting/writing news and information. The most popular social media tool for tracking news and information seem to be Twitter (60%), followed closely by Facebook (53%), with these respondents indicating they use these tools all the time. Surprisingly, blogs (24%) and sharing sites such as Flickr and Youtube (18%) are not used regularly for social news tasks.
Other findings of interest include:
Although social media seems like
a recent phenomenon in the press, the majority of social media participants in the survey have been at it for 3-5 years (27%) with 24% indicating saying they have been avid users of social media tools for more than 5 years. Moreover, many survey respondents indicate they are engaged in social media activity up to 4 hours per day (32%), with most logging around 2 hours per day (34%) either from home (90%) or from work (70%).
· Even in social media circles, search remains king with nearly 50% of respondents indicating they start their news following/monitoring process on a search engine. However, slightly more than 21% indicate they are starting their news gathering process by directly accessing traditional news web sites such as NYT.com, CNN.com, or BBCClick.com. The same number says they are starting on a social media site such as Twitter for Facebook.
· A nagging question of late for the online-news publishing world is the reliability and accuracy of social media news sources. For those actively participating in social media newsgathering and distribution, it seems social media are viewed about the same (41%) as traditional news sources for reliability and accuracy with only 10% of respondents labeling social media as much less reliable or accurate. However, when it comes to timeliness there is no contest with almost 70% of respondents indicating that news gathered via social media sources is much more (40%) or slightly more (30%) timely than traditional news sources.