Whereas it’s no secret that social media shapes our political discourse, a brand new by the Pew Analysis Middle reveals to what extent. Practically one in three tweets posted by American adults are political in nature, based on Pew’s evaluation of a pattern of a yr’s price of English-language tweets from US adults. However solely eight % of the unique tweets Pew analyzed had been political in nature, whereas greater than 40 % of retweets and quote tweets had been categorized as political. This exhibits that customers are much more more likely to share political content material from a small group relatively than create their very own.
It’s essential to notice that the examine analyzed tweets that had been posted between Might 2020 and Might 2021 — a very tumultuous time interval that included a US presidential election, a summer time of political protests, a pandemic and the January 6 rebel. It’s a major uptick from 2019, when solely 13 % of US tweets had been about politics. However Pew additionally considerably modified its methodology from 2019, which solely centered on politics on the nationwide stage.
“This definition excluded mentions of state or native politics and politicians, in addition to discussions of coverage points and present occasions that carry a political valence however don’t explicitly reference nationwide political figures or teams,” wrote Pew’s researchers in a weblog submit.
Nonetheless, the findings embody some fascinating insights on who shapes political debate on Twitter and how. First off, the examine discovered that People who had been 50 years and older produced 78 % of all political tweets. Whereas this age group solely makes up 1 / 4 of Twitter’s US consumer base, it nearly dominates the political dialogue on the platform. In the meantime, solely seven % of tweets from US Twitter customers between the ages of 18 and 49 had been political in nature.
As talked about earlier, a big chunk of retweets and quote tweets are political in nature — suggesting that almost all customers unfold political info on Twitter relatively than submit unique commentary. Roughly 44 % of retweets and 42 % had been quote tweets had been political in nature, versus eight % of unique tweets. Many customers voice their political beliefs within the replies — an estimated 26 % of reply tweets mentioned politics.
Republicans and Democrats additionally seem to understand Twitter very in another way from one another. For instance, Democrats appear extra more likely to deal with Twitter as a spot to come across like-minded individuals. Roughly 40 % of Democrats stated they largely adopted Twitter accounts with comparable political opinions to their very own, versus 20 % of Republicans. That is possible helped by the truth that Twitter’s most prolific customers swing left. A 2020 Pew examine that of Twitter’s most energetic customers, roughly 69 % recognized as Democrats.
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