A new nationally representative survey of 2,791 U.S. adult Twitter users directed by The Pew Research Center begs we reexamine what we think we know about the internet’s most toxic platform.
Twitter has been the mascot for internet rage for as long as I can remember. Before reviewing the study, if you were to ask me to assign three adjectives to the average Tweeter, none of them would have been printable. But, as the data reveals, the famous the classic, halitosis carrying, internet addicted, five reasons why the movie you liked was worse than cancer archetype actually accounts for a tiny minority. For the most part, Twitter is composed of affluent well-educated adults, that only Tweet a modest two times a month.
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The active minority
The 10% of users that Tweet regularly tend to do so about politics. Sixty-nine percent of the US adults that identified themselves as active tweeters said the majority of their tweets were political in nature. This same 10% is responsible for the vast majority of tweets that occupy the site-with the median number of tweets amongst this demo being 138 per month (nearly 80% of Twitter content created by all U.S. adults on Twitter). In addition to boasting the most distinct attitudes, prolific tweeters are more likely to be women.
Comparatively, the remaining 90% of users reported taking to Twitter to discuss politics much less often than the strident minority. Thirty-nine percent of this 90% said that they discuss political issues on Twitter, and only 13% reported doing so in the last 30 days.
Another surprising find revealed by The Pew Researcher Center’s survey suggests that the majority of Twitter as a whole are much more liberal than the average US citizen, particularly when it comes to race and immigration. The survey reports, “Specifically, nearly two-thirds (63%) of Twitter users ages 18 to 49 identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with the 55% of 18- to 49-year-olds who identify the same way. Among older users, these differences are similar.”
Moreover, the average Twitter user makes more money and is more educated than the majority of American adults.
Relative to the general population, Twitter users are much more likely to have received some kind of college education. For instance, about 42% of Twitter users have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 31% of average US adults. Based on this data, it stands to reason that tweeters also tend to make more money. Forty-one percent of Twitter users reported an annual income of $75,000 or above.
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