A survey by Cision has found that time spent using social media for work by the UK journalists who responded has fallen. The focus this finding has received is unfortunate as this reduction may simply be due to increased productivity. Meanwhile, for the first time the same survey found that a majority of UK journalists now think social media use for work is both necessary and beneficial.
Cision have produced their annual survey of how journalists are using social media. The top finding is a fall in the proportion of UK journalists using social media for work for four hours or more per day. The level has reduced from 24 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent in 2014. The inference drawn is that we’ve reached a point of “saturation”, or even decline, in the use of social media by UK journalists.
The thing is, time spent is only relevant if you can relate it to a set objective. In this case the reduction in time seems most likely to me to be due to improved productivity in the use of social media by journalists.
Here are a few potential reasons for this:
– According to the survey, Twitter is the No.1 tool used by UK journalists (75 per cent). Our analysis of when UK journalists joined Twitter suggests they have had between three and six years to become proficient at it.
– Productivity tools are likely to be widely used by now, particularly by those who use social media the most. An example of this is in the survey where it highlights 25% of respondents saying they use Hootsuite.
– Knowledge from earlier adopters will have been shared with colleagues who joined later. Journalism.co.uk’s excellent newsrewired conferences are an example (the latest of which was yesterday).
Meanwhile the same survey also tells us:
– 54% of journalists who responded couldn’t carry out their work without social media (up from 43% in 2013 and 28% in 2012).
– 58% say social media has improved their productivity (up from 54% in 2013 and 39% in 2012).
If the survey is representative, this means a majority of UK journalists now think that the use of social media for work is both necessary and beneficial.
Isn’t this the real story?