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Pew confirms what we already knew: People like to retweet political hot takes

Whereas it’s no secret that social media shapes our political discourse, a brand new by the Pew Analysis Heart reveals to what extent. Almost one in three tweets posted by American adults are political in nature, in line with Pew’s evaluation of a pattern of a yr’s value of English-language tweets from US adults. However solely eight % of the unique tweets Pew analyzed have been political in nature, whereas greater than 40 % of retweets and quote tweets have been categorised as political. This reveals that customers are much more more likely to share political content material from a small group quite than create their very own.

It’s necessary to notice that the examine analyzed tweets that have been posted between Might 2020 and Might 2021 — a very tumultuous time interval that included a US presidential election, a summer season of political protests, a pandemic and the January 6 rebellion. It’s a big uptick from 2019, when solely 13 % of US tweets have 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 put up.

Nonetheless, the findings embrace some fascinating insights on who shapes political debate on Twitter and how. First off, the examine discovered that Individuals who have been 50 years and older produced 78 % of all political tweets. Whereas this age group solely makes up 1 / 4 of Twitter’s US person 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 have 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 data on Twitter quite than put up authentic commentary. Roughly 44 % of retweets and 42 % have been quote tweets have been political in nature, versus eight % of authentic 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 folks. Roughly 40 % of Democrats mentioned they principally adopted Twitter accounts with comparable political opinions to their very own, versus 20 % of Republicans. That is seemingly 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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