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News for a Mobile-First Consumer

Paula M. Poindexter

The rapid adoption of mobile devices has created a new type of consumer, one who chooses smartphones and tablets over laptops and desktops, TV and radio, print newspapers, magazines, books, and landline phones. This new mobile consumer has not just forced businesses, institutions, governments, and organizations to innovate with mobile solutions; this new mobile consumer has upended the news media landscape, challenging news organizations and journalists to produce news for consumers who have little resemblance to yesterday’s newspaper readers, TV news viewers, and online news consumers.

Based on two national surveys, News for a Mobile-First Consumer introduces a mobile consumer taxonomy comprised of three types of mobile consumers: mobile-first, mobile specialists, and mobile laggards. The demographics of these mobile consumers as well as their relationship to news and social media are explored in depth. Social media as a competitor to and platform for mobile news are also examined, and special attention is devoted to news apps from the perspective of consumers.

News for a Mobile-First Consumer also provides insight about millennials, racial and ethnic minorities, and women, who are at the forefront of the mobile revolution but less engaged with news. To improve mobile journalism and increase news engagement, «Essentials of Mobile Journalism» are proposed.

As the first book to explore news and consumers in the mobile sphere, this book is required reading for scholars and professionals as well as undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in journalism, communication, strategic communications, advertising, media and society, marketing, and technology courses.

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Chapter 3: Social Media on the Mobile Stage


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News apps may be absent from many smartphone screens and lists of top mobile apps, but the opposite is true for social media. One-third of the top 15 smartphone apps are for social media. With more than 1.49 billion active monthly users (Facebook, 2015), it is not surprising that Facebook is the dominant app. Facebook comprises 71% of the app audience, followed by Facebook-owned, photo-and-video-sharing Instagram, which is just over one-third (35%) of the app audience (ComScore, 2015). The 140-character Twitter and Facebook rival Google+ are less than one-fourth of mobile apps. Snapchat, one of the newest additions to the social media landscape, is 19% of the mobile app audience (see Table 3.1).

Table 3.1: Top Social Media Apps.

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