Expanding Into Social Media: What Platforms to Explore and Why

Expanding Into Social Media: What Platforms to Explore and Why

In 2023, there’s no way around it: journalism and social media are intrinsically intertwined. Journalists not only have an obligation to track the digital ecosystem to enhance their reporting – they also have to tailor their content to earn social media traction of their own.

Want to expand your social media footprint as a journalist but don’t know where to start? Here’s a rundown of which platforms are worth exploring and why.

Twitter and Threads

According to a 2022 report from Pew Research Center, Twitter is the most important social media platform for journalists – roughly 70% say it’s the first or second most relevant platform for work-related tasks.

An array of factors keep journalists coming back to the platform: finding sources, tracking expert opinions, and reposting their stories are all components of being a journalist on Twitter. In many ways, Twitter is a bridge between audiences and reporters.

Last year, Twitter itself published findings on this relationship. Key data points include:

  • 62% of Twitter news consumers say “Twitter helps me find new news outlets to follow”
  • 60% of people on Twitter say they have followed an account related to US national news in the past year, 55% said the same for local news, and 50% said the same for international news
  • 50% of people on Twitter say they have followed a journalist on social media in in the past year
  • 83% of young journalists (ages 18-29) say Twitter is the social media site they use most or second most in their job

If you’ve been tracking the social media space, you might wonder how Twitter’s newest competitor Threads will impact this relationship. While it’s a bit too early to know how Meta’s new app will unfold, it is worth noting that over 100 million users have already joined the platform.

Whether you get in on the ground floor of Threads or dive into Twitter’s thriving media scene, this style of social media is a great fit for journalists.


Facebook may be losing steam compared to newer social media platforms, but it still ranks high for journalist usage. In fact, the same Pew study that ranks Twitter as the #1 platform for reporters lists Facebook as #2.

Perhaps more importantly, Facebook is the most popular social media site among users when it comes to journalism consumption: 31% of U.S. adults say they go there regularly for news.

However, there’s a stark difference in the way reporters versus their news organizations use the platforms. Twitter is better for individual reporters who wish to operate personal accounts independently, while Facebook’s most popular news accounts are operated by media houses as a whole.

If your organization doesn’t yet have a Facebook page, launching one is a great place to start!

YouTube and TikTok

When it comes to video content, you might be surprised to know that as of 2022, YouTube was the second-most popular news consumption platform for social media users: 22% of the public regularly gets news from the site.

However, the social media scene moves quickly, and TikTok is confidently climbing its way up the ranks. In 2020, just 22% of TikTok users reported getting news on the app, but by 2022, nearly one-third of users reported doing so. Data is still pending for 2023, but at this rate, TikTok might be the smarter bet for video content.

At 5WH, we’re always on the hunt for insights and analyses that enhance journalism careers. To stay on top of the latest trends in digital media, subscribe to the 5WH newsletter at 5WH.