Are you one of these people who thinks social media and digital are something you’ll need to worry about in the future? Well, the future has arrived. The ground has shifted. Canada is now a digital nation.

David Coletto and I have been studying Canadian trends in news and information in the public affairs and political world since 2013. Our companies (Abacus Data and Full Duplex) have published our research as a series of reports under the banner Matters of Opinion. The third and latest report, released today, includes eight key findings that serve as a clear wake up call for public affairs.

Consider these stats from the report:

  • 21% of Canadians report learning of news events on Facebook, 29% from television
  • Roughly 6 in 10 Canadians check Facebook at least once every day
  • 49% of those 60 year or older check Facebook daily (the least active age group on Facebook)
  • 51% of Canadians consume news online
  • 47% of Millennials report engaging in conversations about politics and current events

As powerful as Facebook is now, Twitter still packs a mighty punch. Even though it’s not as popular among Canadians, news still breaks on Twitter before finding its way to Facebook. The key distinction is, Twitter is a formidable amplifier with a short and fast-burning fuse, while Facebook is designed to re-energize a story (and keep users engaged) each time a user interacts with a post.

Given what has happened in the recent months – Brexit, Trump, debates about the role of government intervention in the news business, the rise of fake news and the emergence of alternative facts – we believe public affairs professionals, those looking to influence public opinion or public policy, and those just interested in politics will find Matters of Opinion valuable and actionable.

Download Matters of Opinion 2017