More than 9 in 10 US Millennials (aged 18-34) use Facebook, while fewer than 4 in 10 use Twitter, according to results from a recently-released survey conducted by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey finds that Millennials have different reasons for using each platform, with Facebook use driven primarily by a desire to keep current with friends’ lives and Twitter use more to see what’s “trending.”
Asked which – if any – of several options are the main reasons they use Facebook, respondents were most likely to say they do so to see what’s happening in their friends’ lives and what they’re talking about. Some 69% of respondents cited this option, which works out to about three-quarters of users (just 9% said they don’t use Facebook). Next on the list, 53% of respondents overall (58% of users) reported that a main reason for using Facebook is to find things that entertain them, such as funny lists, articles or videos.
By comparison, significantly fewer (31% of respondents; 34% of users) said that a main reason for using Facebook is to see what’s “trending” and what people are talking about on social media.
That was the top reason given by Millennials for using Twitter, however. Some 16% of Millennials surveyed (or 43% of users, given that 63% reported not using Twitter) said this is a main reason for using Twitter, slightly ahead of the 15% (or 41% of users) who said they mainly use Twitter to find things that entertain them.
The study – which was conducted to examine the different ways in which Millennials consume news content – found that 7 in 10 Facebook users regularly read or watch news stories or headlines posted by other people, and that 6 in 10 regularly like news stories, headlines, or story links posted to Facebook. Those figures were comparatively lower among Twitter users: 49% regularly read of watch news stories or headlines posted on Twitter by other people, while 33% regularly retweet news stories, headlines or story-linking tweets posted by other people.
Of note, Twitter users were more likely to say they compose their own posts about news-related items than share news content seen on other websites. The opposite was true for Facebook users, who reported being more likely to post or share a news story seen on other websites than to comment on a news item posted to Facebook. In each case, though, Facebook users appeared more engaged in these activities than Twitter users, an interesting result given Twitter’s reputation as a real-time news source.
In related news, while the Media Insight Project study didn’t identify brand engagement as a reason for using Facebook or Twitter, a recent survey from BuzzStream and Fractl looks at the reasons consumers follow and unfollow brands. Notably, Facebook was the preferred network for following brands (by 38% of respondents), with Twitter (19%) next among the 10 platforms identified.
Returning to the Media Insight Project report, there were numerous other interesting findings, some of which are highlighted below.
About the Data: The survey reached 1,046 adults nationwide between the ages of 18 and 34. Study recruitment was completed through a national probability telephone sample, while the main portion of the questionnaire was administered online. The margin of error was +/- 3.8 percentage points. More details can be found by following the above-referenced link to the study.
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