Social media has the power to create information overload, regardless of the industry in which we work. However, it also provides more information than we’ve had access to before. In the fifth edition of Washington in the Information Age from the National Journal we see how Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers in Washington D.C. use social media, and traditional media.
A survey targeted at 1,200 Capitol Hill staff, senior-level federal executives and private sector policy professionals and examined the media attitudes of the demographics in each sector.
As smartphones have become commonplace, and more information readily available, many report experiencing information overload and fewer are report thriving in the new environment. In 2015 only 38 percent of survey respondents believe that increased media availability is making their job easier, compared to 50 percent in 2012.
Additionally, 31 percent of respondents reported themselves as thriving in the new environment, while in 2015 that dropped to 26 percent. The number of respondents feeling overwhelmed rose to 27 percent.
Trust in media sources is up across the board among D.C. professionals. While trust in traditional sources, like national news brands has increased the most, trust in social media platforms is up four percent. Online only sources like The Huffington Post gained 13 percent.
Smartphones might be responsible for the increased exposure to social and online sources of information. Larger screen displays, like those on iPhone and Android, have come to dominate the market, almost completely edging out Blackberry. Still, the Blackberry platform remains popular among older generations. Tablet adoption is also up among all demographics.
Linkedin is the most used social network by DC insiders, with 79 percent of respondents using it. 77 percent are using Facebook, 62 percent are using Twitter, and 47 percent are using YouTube. However, demographics play a large part. Among Millennials, 58 percent of Capitol Hill professionals are using Instagram and 36 percent are using Snapchat.
Federal executives, mostly Baby Boomers and older, use social media at lower rates than the other demographics across all networks except YouTube, where they equal the average.
According to National Journal Group CEO Tim Hartman:
Washington insiders continue to experiment and adopt new media platforms, but remain challenged to understand exactly what tactics and platforms are working.
This experimentation has led to rises in other networks, such as Vine and Tumblr, and it has generated more trust in a wider variety of information sources. For more information and demographic breakdowns, view the report here.
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