Pew: Most prolific Twitter users tend to be Democrats, but majority of users still rarely tweet

A new study from Pew Research Center, released today, digs into the different ways that U.S. Democrats and Republicans use Twitter. Based on data collected between Nov. 11, 2019 and Sept. 14, 2020, the study finds that members of both parties tweet fairly infrequently, but a majority of Twitter’s most prolific users tend to swing left.

The report updates Pew’s 2019 study with similar findings. At that time, Pew found that 10% of U.S. adults on Twitter were responsible for 80% of all tweets from U.S. adults.

Today, those figures have changed. During the study period, the most active 10% of users produced 92% of all tweets by U.S. adults.

And of these highly active users, 69% identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.

In addition, the 10% most active Democrats typically produce roughly twice the number of tweets per month (157) compared with the most active Republicans (79).

Image Credits: Pew Research Center

These highly-active users don’t represent how most Twitter users tweet, however.

Regardless of party affiliation, the majority of Twitter users post very infrequently, Pew found.

The median U.S. adult Twitter user posted just once per month during the time of the study. The median Democrat posts just once per month, while the median Republican posts even less often than that.

The typical adult also has very few followers, with the median
Democrat having 32 followers while the median Republican has 21. Democrats, however, tend to follow more accounts than Republicans do, at 126 vs. 71, respectively.

Image Credits: Pew Research Center

The new study additionally examined other differences in how members of the two parties use the platforms, beyond frequency of tweeting.

For starters, it found 60% of the Democrats on Twitter would describe themselves as very or somewhat liberal, compared with 43% of Democrats who don’t use Twitter. Self-identified conservatives on Twitter vs. conservatives not on the platform had closer shares, at 60% and 62%, respectively.

Pew also found that the two Twitter accounts followed by the largest share of U.S. adults were those belonging to former President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) and President Donald Trump
(@RealDonaldTrump).

Not surprisingly, more Democrats followed Obama — 42% of Democrats did, vs. just 12% of Republicans. Trump, meanwhile, was followed by 35% of Republicans and just 13% of Democrats.

Other top political accounts saw similar trends. For instance, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) is followed by 16% of Democrats and 3% of Republicans. Fox News personalities Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) and Sean Hannity (@seanhannity), meanwhile, are both followed by 12% of Republicans but just 1% of Democrats.

Image Credits:

This is perhaps a more important point than Pew’s study indicates, as it demonstrates that even though Twitter’s original goal was to build a “public town square” of sorts, where conversations could take place in the open, Twitter users have built the same isolated bubbles around themselves as they have elsewhere on social media.

Because Twitter’s main timeline only shows tweets and retweets from people you follow, users are only hearing their side of the conversation amplified back to them.

This problem is not unique to Twitter, of course. Facebook, for years, has been heavily criticized for delivering two different versions of reality to its users. An article from The WSJ in 2016 demonstrated how stark this contrast could be, when it showed a “blue” feed and “red” feed, side-by-side.

The problem is being exacerbated even more in recent months, as users from both parties are now exiting mainstream platforms, like Twitter, an isolating themselves even more. On the conservative side, users fled to free speech-favoring and fact check-eschewing platforms like Gab and Parler. The new social network Telepath, on the other hand, favors left-leaning users by aggressively blocking misinformation — often that from conservative news outlets — and banning identity-based attacks.

One other area Pew’s new study examined was the two parties’ use of hashtags on Twitter.

It found that no one hashtag was used by more than 5% of U.S. adults on Twitter during the study period. But there was a bigger difference when it came to the use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, which was tweeted by 4% of Democrats on Twitter and just 1% of Republicans.

Other common hashtags used across both parties included #covid10, #coronavirus, @mytwitteranniversary, #newprofilepic, #sweepstakes, #contest, and #giveaway.

Image Credits: Pew Research Center

It’s somewhat concerning, too, that hashtags were used in such a small percentage of tweets.

While their use has fallen out of favor somewhat — using a hashtag can seem “uncool” — the idea with hashtags was to allow users a quick way to tap into the global conversation around a given topic. But this decline in user adoption indicates there are now fewer tweets that can connect users to an expanded array of views.

Twitter today somewhat addresses this problem through its “Explore” section, highlighting trends, and users can investigate tweets using its keyword search tools. But if Twitter really wants to burst users’ bubbles, it may need to develop a new product — one that offers a different way to connect users to the variety a conversations taking place around a term, whether hashtagged or not.

 

 

 

#hashtag, #pew-research-center, #social, #social-media, #twitter, #united-states, #us-politics

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The Czech Republic, with the highest transmission rate in Europe, closed schools, bars and restaurants. In some countries in Central Europe, there is a critical shortage of doctors and nurses.

#bucharest-romania, #budapest-hungary, #bulgaria, #central-europe, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #czech-republic, #disease-rates, #europe, #european-union, #gazeta-wyborcza, #gdansk-poland, #hospitals, #hungary, #kaczynski-jaroslaw, #orban-viktor, #oxford-university, #pew-research-center, #politics-and-government, #prague-czech-republic, #romania, #shutdowns-institutional

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#biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-people, #catalist, #democratic-party, #hispanic-americans, #minorities, #pew-research-center, #polls-and-public-opinion, #presidential-election-of-2016, #presidential-election-of-2020, #race-and-ethnicity, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-registration-and-requirements, #whites

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The Trump administration’s moves to decouple the two economies means less leverage over Beijing’s green policies.

#air-pollution, #carbon-dioxide, #chengdu-china, #coal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #environment, #gansu-province-china, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #green-climate-fund, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #hong-kong, #india, #international-trade-and-world-market, #japan, #liu-he-1952, #obama-barack, #outsourcing, #pacific-ocean, #paris-agreement, #pew-research-center, #pollution, #steel-and-iron, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Old and ailing, they see exercising their fundamental right to vote as a way to have a say in a future they will probably never see.

#absentee-voting, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #elderly, #pew-research-center, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Distrust of China Jumps to New Highs in Democratic Nations

The sharpest rise in negative views was in Australia, while unfavorable opinions jumped in the United States and Europe, a Pew survey found.

#australia, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #europe, #international-relations, #japan, #pew-research-center, #politics-and-government, #polls-and-public-opinion, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #xi-jinping

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Some of what we saw was people cosplaying consciousness — symbolism that cost nothing and shifted no power.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #obama-barack, #pew-research-center, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-reform, #polls-and-public-opinion, #race-and-ethnicity, #trump-donald-j, #united-states

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Robert Unanue said the country was “blessed” to have the president’s leadership. Now, amid calls for a boycott, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the U.S. is facing dismay from chefs and home cooks.

#chefs, #columbus-christopher, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #food, #goya-foods-inc, #hispanic-americans, #immigration-and-emigration, #latin-america, #mexico, #minorities, #new-jersey, #pew-research-center, #trump-donald-j, #unanue-robert-i

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New Data Sheds Light on Who Is Moving Because of the Pandemic

Young people are more likely to pack their bags — often for fear of infection — than other age groups, a Pew Research Center survey finds.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #moving-and-moving-industry, #pew-research-center, #polls-and-public-opinion, #unemployment, #united-states

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US poll shows broad support for renewables, climate measures

Wildflowers bloom in abundance around solar panels.

Enlarge (credit: Juwi Renewable Energies Limited / Flickr)

In the United States, the public has long had a divided opinion on the science of climate change—a divide that’s the product of an all-consuming culture war. As such, asking people whether thermometers have measured warming or whether research shows human activities caused that warming has more or less really been a question about someone’s preferred political party.

But that’s been gradually changing, and the latest Pew Research Center poll shows that support for actions to address climate change continues to grow. And there are clear majorities in favor of many of them.

The poll results are based on a survey of nearly 11,000 US adults in late April and early May.

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#climate-policy, #pew-research-center, #renewable-energy, #science

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Americans without retirement savings are increasingly moving in with their millennial children.

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#black-people, #cook-county-jail-cook-county-ill, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #kaiser-family-foundation, #national-alliance-to-end-homelessness, #national-law-center-on-homelessness-and-poverty, #pew-research-center, #polls-and-public-opinion, #prisons-and-prisoners

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People who mostly get news from social networks have some COVID-19 misconceptions

A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows a COVID-19 information divide between people who mostly get their news from social networks and those who rely on more traditional news sources.

Pew surveyed 8,914 adults in the U.S. during the week of March 10, dividing survey respondents by the main means they use to consume political and election news. In the group of users that reports getting most of their news from social media, only 37% of respondents said that they expected the COVID-19 vaccine to be available in a year or more — an answer aligned with the current scientific consensus. In every other sample with the exception of the local TV group, at least 50% of those surveyed answered the question correctly. A third of social media news consumers also reported that they weren’t sure about the vaccine availability.

Among people who get most of their news from social media, 57% reported that they had seen at least some COVID-19 information that “seemed completely made up.” For people who consume most of their news via print media, that number was 37%.

Most alarmingly, people who primarily get their news via social media perceived the threat of COVID-19 to be exaggerated. Of the social media news consumers surveyed, 45% answered that the media “greatly exaggerated the risks” posed by the novel coronavirus. Radio news consumers were close behind, with 44% believing the media greatly exaggerated the threat of the virus, while only 26% of print consumers — those more likely to be paying for their news — believed the same.

The full results were part of Pew’s Election News Pathways project, which explores how people in the U.S. consume election news.

#communication, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #digital-media, #health, #mass-media, #misinformation, #new-media, #news, #pew, #pew-research-center, #print-media, #social, #social-media, #social-networks, #tc, #united-states, #web-2-0

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#california, #child-care, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #day-laborers, #domestic-service, #families-and-family-life, #foreign-workers, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #labor-and-jobs, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #pew-research-center, #unemployment

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