A small number of prolific U.S. Twitter users create the majority of tweets, and that extends to Twitter discussions around politics, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center out today. Building on an earlier study, which discovered that 10% of users created 80% of tweets from U.S. adults, the organization today says that just 6% of U.S. adults on Twitter account for 73% of tweets about national politics. TechCrunch reports: Though your experience on Twitter may differ, based on who you follow, the majority of Twitter users don’t mention politics in their tweets. In fact, Pew found that 69% never tweeted about politics or tweeted about the topic just once. Meanwhile, across all tweets from U.S. adults, only 13% of tweets were focused on national politics. The study was based on 1.1 million public tweets from June 2018 to June 2019, Pew says (2,427 users participated).
Only 22% of U.S. adults even have a Twitter account, and of those, only 31% are defined as “political tweeters” — that is, they’ve posted at least five tweets and have posted at least twice about politics during the study period. Within this broader group of political tweeters, just 6% are defined as “prolific” — meaning they’ve posted at least 10 tweets and at least 25% of their tweets mention national politics. This small subset then goes on to create 73% of all tweets from U.S. adults on the subject of national politics. What’s concerning about the data is that it’s those who are either far to the left or far to the right who are the ones dominating the political conversation on Twitter’s platform. A majority of the prolific political tweeters (55%) say they identify as either “very liberal” or “every conservative.” Among the non-political tweeting crowd, only 28% chose a more polarized label for themselves. The report goes on to say that the polarized subgroup heavily leans left. “For example, those who strongly approve of President Trump generated 25% of all tweets mentioning national politics. But those who strongly disapprove of Trump generated 72% of all tweets mentioning national politics. (They’re also responsible for 80% of all tweets from U.S. adults on the platform.)”
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