Where Do Each Generation of Americans Get Their News Online?

Where Do Each Generation of Americans Get Their News Online?

During the early days of Internet development in the 1960s, it was originally conceived as a system for the interconnectivity of computer networks to create more stable communication. Little did these developers know that the Internet would literally explode in the 1990s, becoming not only a means of communication but also a source for up-to-date news and information from every corner of the world. Because of the speed by which news is reported on the Internet, one would think that traditional news media like television, radio, and newspapers are slowly being replaced. In reality, however, most people have chosen to get their news from a combination of sources and not just the internet.

Let us take a closer look at the online news habits of three major generations in America today, namely Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born between the years 1946 and 1964, but they are usually described as belonging to the 50+ age range. This generation is erroneously believed to be the most resistant to computers, smartphones and other technological advancements. In reality, however, Boomers are just as interested in new tech, except that they are more meticulous consumers and would like to know more about the gadget first before dishing out their hard earned dollars. However, once they get involved with a particular tech, they become hooked on it. The same applies to their choices of news.

In a 2010 Pew Internet Report entitled “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer”, Boomers have been getting their news both online and through more traditional media. The report showed that 45% of Boomers prefer to get their news from portal websites like GoogleNews, AOL or Topix. 40% frequently check out websites of noted TV news organizations, like CNN, Fox or CBS, and 15% visit websites of international news organizations, such as the BBC. 36% would go to sites that specialize in certain topics of interest, including politics, entertainment, sports, and health. 36% would also check out the website of their favorite national or local newspapers while still buying these same print media the next day (6-22%).

Generation X

Generation X consists of individuals who belong to the 30-49 age range. Gen Xers have literally seen the growth of tech and have embraced its many benefits and incorporated them into their lifestyle. It is interesting to note that many of the notable pioneers in computer technology belong to Generation X, including Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak and the late Steve Jobs. Gen Xers can be just as meticulous as Boomers in their purchasing of new tech. But unlike the previous generation, they are more inclined to learn about every new gadget or device that is developed and buy them if it catches their interest. Because these Gen Xers have grown together with the Internet, it is not surprising that they have come to rely more heavily on online sources for their news. Same as Boomers, 57% of Gen Xers would first check out portal sites like GoogleNews, AOL and Topix before reading the complete details from CNN, Fox and other TV news organization websites (around 47%). Next in line are the websites of national or local newspapers at 42%. 38% would visit sites that specialize in choice topics, most notable among them are entertainment and politics. They would also subscribe to Twitter and Facebook pages of trusted news organizations and journalists.


The Millennial Generation consists of individuals between the ages of 16 and 29 years old. Not surprisingly, Millennials are more inclined to get their news from sources on the Internet via their laptops, smartphones and gadgets. 56% would first check out the headlines in GoogleNews, AOL and other portal websites, before moving on to reading more about it in comprehensive TV news organization sites, such as CNN, CBS, and Fox (46%). Around 38% would go to sites that focus on specific topics, like entertainment (E! Online and Yahoo! OMG Insider are big favorites) and sports. 30% want to get their news fresh from the source by subscribing to the Facebook and Twitter feeds of noted news organizations and journalists. Unlike the two previous generations, Millennials are not particularly inclined to read the news in newspapers and watch them on TV.

Maria writes for All IT Supported, a leading computer support company that specializes in helping non-technical users solve their technology problems.

Business Advice: How Can Stores Improve Their Customer Service?

Customer Service has gotten so bad in the last few years that it’s enough to make anyone cringe before calling somewhere or going into a business. It’s pushing customers toward online shopping where it’s less hassle. What can businesses do to turn around their offensive ways?
Do not complain to the customers
As stated in another article called Customer Service Etiquette, cashiers shouldn’t complain to the customers. But when management or the owner does it, it’s even worse. Recently, I called a small business to see if they had something in stock. The phone call turned into an hour long rant by the owner about their awful customers and the economy. Her frustration was understandable, but she came off as a bit mentally unstable. After that odd conversation, I felt uncomfortable going to her business and sent someone else. She still got the sale, but she missed out on the opportunity for any impulse purchases that I might have made.
Do not become too personal with the customers
It’s great when sales associates are friendly. But there is a personal line that shouldn’t be crossed. Customers shouldn’t fear entering a store because they are concerned about what favors may be asked. Sales associates have informed me that their job would be at-risk unless they reached their daily quota of in-store credit card applicants. Asking someone to apply is required, but guilt-tripping the customer into applying is inappropriate. I’ve also had sales associates ask questions to where it’s like an interrogation. Flirting with the customers in order to get them to make a purchase is also going too far.
Treat all customers the same
A store experience can vary greatly with each different associate. This shouldn’t happen. Stores should have set policies on helping customers with heavy items, returns, etc. For example, Lowe’s associates have assisted me with heavy items and even opened a register so I wouldn’t have to wait. They also helped with loading the item into my vehicle. But then I’ve known people to go into the same store and have a completely opposite experience.
Do not stalk the customers in the store
With the high level of theft that happens in stores, it’s understandable that the customers need some monitoring. However, some well placed security cameras and/or mirrors would make everyone feel more comfortable. It’s very hard for the customer to look around if they’re asked every 2 minutes if they need help (as if looking around isn’t allowed) or if they are watched so closely that they feel uncomfortable. I’ve left many stores without making a purchase because of being hassled by the sales associates.
Do not make customers wait
If a customer has to wait at the register longer than it takes for them to select what they want to buy then they are waiting too long. For example, I went into this small business a few years back that was mainly run by the owner. I stood there for twenty minutes waiting for him to ring up what I had in my hands and to cut about 2 feet of leather necklace cord while he was helping this lady who wanted to reset some jewelry. He finally told me to come back in about an hour. I was beyond furious considering I just happened to be in the area and didn’t live near his shop. It would have taken all of about 2 minutes for him to have helped me then returned to her. I haven’t been back since that happened.