There is a certain dichotomy that exists between the Baby Boomers and today’s Millennials, and it’s not just their age or their music genre of choice. As new and emerging technologies elbow their way into the marketplace, we’re presented with sleek and seamless modern means of staying connected to our friends, posting photos of our food and meeting new people. Now, as technology has continued to take steps forward, Millennials have followed on its heels, using social media as the primary source of what’s going on in the world, from local to international.
For Baby Boomers, the primary source of news is, well, the news. Tuning into local news stations on television is a means of learning what’s going on in the world that Baby Boomers are familiar with and have come to rely on. About 60% of them say television is their go-to source of news according to a Pew Research Center survey.
Millennials, however, prefer not to be so constricted, and have turned to the internet. The generation known for being “connected” have shown a preference for Facebook as a primary source of information, as 61% indicated they use the social media platform to receive news in any given week.
Looking at the statistics behind each generation’s use of social media paints a clear picture of why this division is so large: simply put, Millennials are more likely to use social media, and more likely to have a wider array of accounts across multiple channels. According to AdWeek, 88% of Millennials use Facebook compared to 70% of Baby Boomers. While the difference between the two may not seem large, it expands almost exponentially when other platforms are used; 72% of Millennials use YouTube compared to just 34% of Baby Boomers. For Twitter, it’s 59% compared to 31%.
Similarly, 15% of males between the ages of 18 and 29 use Reddit, which advertises itself as “The Front Page of the Internet,” and is a frequent hub for fast-breaking news stories. For those ages 50-65, that number drops to about 3%.
Depending on who you are, where you live and how old you are, there is a very good chance you’re getting your news from very different sources. The question now becomes how much does news media’s depiction of the news differ from what you’d find on something like Facebook, Twitter or Reddit? In a perfect world, the fast answer would be that it doesn’t, and that news reporting is news reporting through and through. But with the free-flowing channels of communication on social media, Millennials are opening themselves to viewpoints that contrast their own, but present potential dangers in fact-checking and ensuring legitimate sourcing of information.