Social Media Users Don’t Want News in Their News Feeds (Report)

Social media has changed how people communicate and consume media. For better or for worse, digital media enables people far and wide to discuss whatever they want, whenever they want. But which topics surface most often, and what are people most interested in discussing on social? A study from Spot.IM, a platform for building custom social networks, answers these questions and examines media consumption habits related to news and politics.

According to the Spot.IM report, younger social media users are most likely to post comments. 66 percent of users aged 18 and 19 prefer to comment on news articles through social, while 60 percent of users aged 60-plus prefer publisher websites. The changeover point for preference occurs between ages 43 and 45.

Overall 33 percent of survey respondents wanted fewer news articles in their social news feeds, and 52 percent didn’t care one way or the other. Among users over the age of 30, the desire to read news articles online decreased to 11 percent to 13 percent. Despite a seemingly endless amount of news posts in social feeds, this data echoes earlier findings that social users are more interested in each other than they are in news.

Still, politics is one of the top discussion topics users choose to respond to with comments. 48 percent comment on humor posts, 36 percent comment on political posts, 36 percent comment on food posts and 30 percent engaged with posts about world news.

So while it may seem contradictory, users are both less interested in news posts than one might expect and more interested in politics. This may be the result of the discussion around the current election cycle. Indeed, 21 percent of respondent said they engaged on social media during a presidential debate.

Much like social media is changing the nature of politics, politics could be changing user behavior during political campaigns. It’s likely that increased coverage leads to increased discussion, or perhaps the cycle of outrage is the the culprit, particularly when we look at the polarization seen in the chart below. There are many factors at play when it comes to online political discussion, and there are no quick answers when seeking to engage political audiences.

Overall, this report may indicate a decline in interest in social media newsgathering, or it may be the case that the interests of general users of social media are cyclical. Evergreen topics like humor, food and cute animals are usually safe topics for engagement, but pricklier topics like politics may just cycle in and out of feeds as they become important.

More Competition Means Fewer Shares All Around (Report)

Sharing is one of the most meaningful actions a user can take on a social media site. In an analysis of the 1 million most shared articles from the first six months of this year, BuzzSumo and Fractl examined activity on the top social networks and offered insights into the most popular publishers on the web.

As has been the case for many years now, Facebook is the leader of the social network pack, capturing more than 90 percent of the 3 billion shares analyzed by BuzzSumo and Fractl. Twitter captured approximately 6 percent despite its relative size to Facebook, and the remainder of analyzed shares occurred on Linkedin, Pinterest and Google+, respectively.

While user growth and sharing always seems to increase, some social sites have experienced significant losses since 2014. Shares on Twitter have decreased nearly 30 percent, while shares on Pinterest have decreased 70 percent. Share on Google+ took a nose dive from just under 5 percent of total shares to less than 1 percent.

Overall, the top rankings for publishers were primarily news sources, from traditional sources like The New York Times and The Washington Post, to newer publishers with highly shareable content like The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. Total share numbers per publisher are down compared to two years ago, but this is because more publishers are competing for the attention of social users with highly shareable content.

For more detailed analysis, check out the full report.

What Motivates People to Share on Facebook? (Infographics)

More than one-half of all adults in the U.S. use social media, and 84 percent of internet users worldwide between the ages of 16 and 64 use Facebook specifically. While there are some generational differences between what people share, most Facebook users seem to favor sharing funny or inspiring content. But what is the real motivation behind what people share on Facebook?

Content marketing agency Fractl surveyed more than 2,000 Facebook users to uncover the motivation behind their sharing habits. 48 percent of respondents to the Fractl survey said they shared content to entertain their friends, while 17 percent shared to express themselves on issues they cared about. Only 11 percent of people said they preferred to share something because it was useful.

Women are more likely to share content to elicit an emotional response, where men are more motivated to share content to persuade their friends. Both men and women like to share content to inform their Facebook friends about issues they feel are important.

The percentage of people who share more than once a day is pretty small. However, those who do share four times per day or more are 43 percent more likely to court controversy and 90 percent less likely to avoid political content. Overall, 52 percent of the respondents said they avoid sharing “hot-button” content.

Check out the full report for more data on how carefully people curate the content they share and how image plays into what people share.

Image on homepage courtesy of Alexey Boldin/Shutterstock.