Members of the post-millennial generation, born after 1997, grew up using digital technologies, and their news consumption through social media differs from that of older generations. It can lead to what is called youthquake, which describes significant societal change initiated by young peoples’ actions.
At the same time, we live in an era of post-truth politics, which describes claims being based on what feels right instead of what is fact-based. Mass communication scholars argue that journalism needs to be revolutionized to overcome this era by engaging people on social media and restoring the citizens’ trust.
In her study, Rebecca C. Nee from the San Diego State University in California explores how the post-millennial generation navigates today’s digital media landscape. She finds that social media platforms are the first news source for this younger generation. While these consumers move away from Facebook and Twitter, the study says that they would still follow news stories on visual platforms like Instagram or Snapchat if the content is visually engaging.
Nee uses surveys and interviews of global young adults and teens to discover cultural differences in digital media use and to analyze news use and information verification. The study includes one group mostly from the Middle East and one with participants from the Southwestern United States.
The study shows that the post-millennial generation intensively uses Instagram and Snapchat. YouTube was more popular for news consumption, and most participants said they use mass media in addition to social media to obtain news. Still, most of the younger users prefer not to join debates on social platforms because they become too polarizing. Participants from the Middle East used YouTube and WhatsApp more, while U.S. participants preferred Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter.
To read the full text of the study: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077695818825215
Nee, Rebecca C. (2019). Youthquakes in a Post-Truth Era: Exploring Social Media News Use and Information Verification Actions Among Global Teens and Young Adults. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 74(2), 171-184.