The percentage of Americans getting their news via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ has risen to 19 percent, more than double what it was just two years ago, according to a Pew study of news consumption habits.
The data point that should get the attention of newspaper publishers is that almost as many Americans (19 percent) are getting news through social networks as from print editions of newspapers (23 percent). (Note: In both cases, the survey asked people where they got news yesterday.)
Search engines' influence has leveled off, the report showed:
In the shifting online landscape, the use of mobile devices and social networking sites have replaced a traditional tool — search engines — as the driver of growth in finding news online. Search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo continue to be the largest single tool in finding news online, but the substantial growth in their use between 2008 and 2010 has leveled off.
Google search was responsible for driving 30 percent of the web traffic to the top 25 news sites two years ago, while Facebook's share was only in the single digits. The new Pew report shows that social networks' importance has grown dramatically.