The 30-minute Kony 2012 video released by Invisible Children last week calling for global action to capture Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony has quickly become one of the most-viewed viral videos in history.
At the time of publishing, the video has been viewed 80 million times on YouTube and 17 million times on Vimeo since its March 5 release.
But a Pew Internet study published Thursday illustrates a notable generational gap between those who have viewed the video and those who have not, signifying a striking difference between how different age groups consume their news.
According to the study, adults between 18 and 29 years of age were notably more likely to have heard about the video than older adults, and were much more likely than their older counterparts to have learned of it through social media rather than traditional news outlets.
Of those who have heard of the video, 27 percent of adults under 30 heard of it through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Conversely, 15 percent of those aged 30-49, five percent of those 50-64, and only one percent of those over 65 heard about it from social media.
Consumers of news on Kony 2012 through traditional media, meanwhile, shows an inverse trend: 39 percent of those 65 and over, 22 percent of those 50-64, 17 percent of those 30-49, and just seven percent of those 18-29 heard of the video from television.
This data strongly suggests that, as more youth enter adulthood, social media will play an increasingly pivotal role as a source for news, while traditional media may continue to decline as a highly-consumed source of information.
The twenty-somethings of our time have been referred to as the Facebook generation, sometimes with a tone of disdain. But sources such as Facebook and Twitter provide an element that traditional TV or newspapers do not: a democratization of voices.
No longer is information a one-way street. Young adults have entered the world expecting to be able to interact with their news sources, as well as with one another, when it comes to current events.
To many twenty-somethings, social media is a dialogue, and traditional media a monologue. We believe that the trend towards social media as sources of news will continue. What do you think?