Increased News Consumption: Is Technology the Cause?

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – The infographic entitled “How Mobile Technology Changes the Way We Process News” analyzes how the spread of mobile technology, primarily smartphones and tablets, has altered the manner by which Americans encounter, read and process news media. The infographic underscores that not only is reading the news a common activity of users of tablets and smartphone, but also that methods of reading the news change depending on which mobile device is being used. With the evolution of news media to primarily digital platforms, the trend of reading news on a mobile device has consequences on the news industry as well as on readers, as companies vie to capture the attention of a sometimes fickle and unpredictable readership.

The infographic opens by demonstrating the widespread use of mobile technology in the U.S. For instance, 22 percent of American adults own a tablet, 44 percent own a smartphone and 50 percent own either a tablet or a smartphone. Within this group, 64 percent of tablet owners read news on their device, as do 62 percent of smartphone owners and 66 percent of those who have either a tablet or smartphone. Not only do the majority of Americans own a mobile device of some sort, but these devices have the potential to be an individual’s primary source of news.

This is proven by the next section of the infographic which asks what people use their tablets for. Sending or receiving emails is at the top spot, with 65 percent of tablet users sending emails weekly, and 44 percent sending emails daily. Smartphone users are even more likely to use their devices for email, with 80 percent of weekly users and 61 percent of daily users communicating in this manner. Checking the news comes in at a close second, however, with 64 percent of tablet users checking the news weekly and 37 percent checking daily. Similarly, 62 percent of smartphone users get news weekly and 36 percent read news daily on their phones. This indicates that while more smartphone users are likely to send emails on their phones on a daily and weekly basis, tablet and smartphone users are practically tied when it comes to checking the news from their devices.

The latter portion of the infographic highlights that tablet and smartphone users read the news differently. For instance, tablet users are more likely check news headlines and then follow through with reading the full article. About 69 percent of tablet users end up reading the full article once they have read the headline. Similarly, the majority of tablet users read long articles on their device. This discrepancy is likely due to the tablet’s size and because it was partially marketed as an alternative, more advanced e-reader. Similarly, it is easier to send a quick email on a smartphone than it is to read a complex article with precision.

Overall this infographic demonstrates change – change from a society which used to receive information from newspapers and evening news to one where mobile and instantaneously-updated news is prized.