Women use smartphones more than men to read news found within social media

July 8, 2014

BY Reynolds Journalism Institute

University of Missouri

Women are much more likely than men to read news stories found within social media on their smartphones, according to the latest mobile media survey from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

About three-quarters of the women who owned smartphones said they had interacted with social media and 65 percent said they had read news stories found within social media in the week prior to participating in the survey. By comparison, about two-thirds of men said they used their smartphones to interact with social media and 54 percent said they had read news stories found within social media.

Although men were somewhat more likely than women to consume content provided directly by news organizations and to search the Web for news on their smartphones, women and men tended to spend about the same amount time using their smartphones for these activities. About 60 percent of men and women overall said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day with new organization content and nearly as much time searching the Web for news on their smartphones. Around one-third of men and women overall spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day reading news found on social media.

Nearly 1,200 randomly selected U.S. adults participated in RJI’s third annual Mobile Media News Consumption survey between Jan. 1 and March 31. This phone survey focused exclusively on the use of smartphones and touch-screen tablets with mobile operating systems. RJI’s previous surveys included questions about the use of e-readers and other Internet-enabled mobile devices, such as netbooks, tablet PCs, hand-held computers, and ultra-light notebooks.

Among RJI’s other findings about the use of smartphones:

• More than half of smartphone owners aged 18 to 54 said they spent the majority of their usage time on activities that required Internet access. About a quarter of owners aged 55 or older said they spent the majority of their usage time on Internet activities. Only 3 percent of all men and 5 percent of all women indicated that they had not used their smartphones for any Internet activities.

• Owners aged 18 to 34 were found to be the most likely to search the Web for news on their smartphones. They also tended to spend more time with this activity than older owners.

• As might be expected, owners age 18 to 34 also were much more likely than older owners to watch movies, television programs and other videos on their smartphones.

• Somewhat less expected was the finding that women of all ages spend more time than men playing games on their smartphones.

• Three in 10 owners said they had made purchases or reservations on their smartphones in the week prior to taking the survey.

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