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How Do People Consume Media Online?

If you are going to build a successful vehicle to communicate to your audiences online you really have to understand how your audience consumes media digitally.

A new International Center for Media & the Public Agenda study, "24 Hours: Unplugged," sought to discover American college students reaction to being unplugged for 24 hours, and as a consequence learn from the student's personal stories about their experience how online media consumption is important to them.

The study concluded that many of students felt addicted to online media, but was interesting was the reason why, without the connection to the internet, people felt alone and disconnected from their friends and family.

One student said, "Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort," wrote one student. "When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life. Although I go to a school with thousands of students, the fact that I was not able to communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable."

News for the students typically came not from branded media outlets but via other channels such as word of mouth, email, texting, Facebook and Twitter.

"Even news events that students cared about were often accessed via their personal interactions. To learn about the Maryland vs. Virginia Tech basketball game, for example, one student told of "listening to someone narrate the game from a conversation they were having on their own phone" (although he would have preferred watching it on TV) and another student told of calling her father to learn more about the earthquake in Chile."