Not much more than the sum total of eff and all – at least that’s according to the number-counters and bean-crunchers at the US-based Pew Research Center.
Having spent a year comparing the results of national polls to the content of tweets tweeted in response to 8 major US news stories, the Pewsters found that ‘the reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys’.
Well, put simply, only a relatively small percentage of the populace tweet at all, they tend to be demographically different from the spectrum represented in national surveys, and they also tend to tweet more when they’re pissed off about something.
With the news stories referred to by Pew covering last year’s Presidential campaign, they found that negative Twitter comments exceeded positive ones by a wide margin – from both sides of the political divide.
So while common assumptions about Twitter users being generally left-leaning were partially upheld, there are still plenty of hacked-off conservative tweeters out there too, equally eager as their liberal friends to vent their spleen in 140 characters or less.
But Twitter was in certain regards shown to offer a greater sample of public opinion than the polls, with the opinions of under-18s represented by the former but not the latter.
And while Pew questioned the reach of Twitter, with only 3% of the US populace bothering to tweet about the news, that figure still represents roughly 9million people making their voices heard on the big issues of the day.
All of which doesn’t really lead into any kind of video. Sorry. Here though is a slightly skewed attempt at political analysis from a welcome visitor to our own rain-soaked shores.
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