It wasn’t just newspapers that were light on news over January with social media sharing on news websites falling significantly last month.
According to the Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation, news sharing on social media sites like Twitter fell by half in the early weeks of January.
Associate Professor Axel Bruns said this result was not surprising with the number of tweets captured by the study falling to 122,000 in the early part of the month. This is down from more than 240,000 in December.
“The first week of the year saw a very low volume of link-sharing. This isn’t very surprising – anecdotal evidence suggests that much news sharing takes place during working hours as people track what’s going on in the world,” said Bruns.
“Many Australians will still be on holidays and less engaged on Twitter. Additionally, of course, the first week of the year may also be a genuinely slow news week.”
The study found that traffic and news sharing only began to pick up in the wake of the series of natural disasters.
“There wasn’t an obvious spike in link sharing around the bushfires and the cyclone – rather, weeks 3 and 4 both saw generally very high levels of activity,” he said.
“My sense is that this is because of the rolling coverage of the emergencies across many news sites – there’s no one site or story which gets all the links; rather, those links are widely distributed as users share the latest information they can get, wherever they can get it from.