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

It’s no secret that social media shapes our political discourse, but to what extent the Pew Research Center reveals what’s new. According to Pew’s analysis of a year’s worth of English tweet samples from US adults, nearly one-third of tweets posted by US adults are political in nature. However, only 8% of the original tweets analyzed by Pew were classified as political in nature, and more than 40% of retweets and quoted tweets were classified as political. This shows that users are much more likely to share small groups of political content than to create their own content.

Please note that this survey analyzed tweets posted between May 2020 and May 2021. This is a particularly turbulent time, including the US presidential election, summer political protests, pandemics, and the January 6 riots. This is a significant increase from 2019, when only 13% of US tweets were about politics. However, Pew also made significant changes to his methodology from 2019, which focused solely on national-level politics.

“This definition excludes references to state or local politicians and politicians, and discussions of policy issues and current events that have political value but do not explicitly refer to national politicians or groups. “I did,” Pew’s researcher wrote in a blog post.

Still, the findings contain some interesting insights about. Who Form a political debate on Twitter, how.. First, the survey found that Americans over the age of 50 make up 78% of all political tweets. This age group makes up only a quarter of Twitter’s US user base, but effectively dominates political debate about the platform. On the other hand, only 7% of tweets from US Twitter users between the ages of 18 and 49 were of political nature.

As mentioned earlier, most retweets and quoted tweets are political in nature. This suggests that most users will disseminate political information on Twitter rather than posting the original comment. About 44% of retweets and quoted tweets were political in nature, as opposed to 8% of the original tweets. Many users have expressed their political opinion in their replies. An estimated 26% of reply tweets are discussing politics.

Republicans and Democrats also seem to perceive Twitter very differently from each other. For example, Democrats are likely to treat Twitter as a place to meet like-minded people. About 40% of Democrats say they follow Twitter accounts with similar political beliefs, as opposed to 20% of Republicans. This is probably helped by the fact that Twitter’s most prolific users swing to the left. According to a 2020 Pew survey, Twitter’s survey of the most active users identified about 69% as Democrats.

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