Race and Social Media

Many people use social media platforms such as Facebook for more than sharing personal updates. They now have become go-to outlets for news stories, particularly for younger generations. In a Media Insight polls review, 57 percent of millennials said that they get their news content from Facebook at least once per day (American Press Institute, para. 5).

However, there are differences in how groups use social networks. A 2014 Pew Research Center survey shows that Instagram is a more popular platform for Latino and black users while Pinterest is more popular among white users:

Latino use of social media

Moreover, another study by the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor shows similar results. According to the survey, 60 percent of people on social media platforms share information about a local event or issue. However, the study showed that white respondents were more likely to post about events or entertainment while black users were most likely to share information about education or schools while Hispanic respondents were most likely to share news about crime or public safety (Zhou, para. 6).

As marketers, it is important to know how social media plays a big role in how groups learn about the world. Reading content is not a passive or random choice, and understanding where and how groups make decisions on content depends on which social media platforms that members of groups consider to be reliable. Marketers need to take conscious steps in making sure they create content where minority groups play an active part in participating in the engagement process.

Because while social media may not always facilitate conversation, it does play a factor in how that conversation starts.


American Press Institute (2015, Aug. 21). “Race, ethnicity and the use of social media for news.” Retrieved January 24, 2016, from https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/race-ethnicity-social-media-news/

Krogstad, J. (2015, Feb. 3). “Social media preferences vary by race and ethnicity.” Pew Research Center. Retrieved January 24, 2016 from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/03/social-media-preferences-vary-by-race-and-ethnicity/

Zhou, L. (2015, Oct. 5). “How race influences social media sharing.” Atlantic. Retrieved January 24, 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/10/race-social-media/408889/