Political views shaped by few on Twitter

Few users focus on politics -- but the president is one of them.
Few users focus on politics -- but the president is one of them.
A question: Would you rather read the president's political tweets or watch videos of cats sledding?

    Every day, and often, every hour, President Donald Trump's tweets make news. The nation's tweeter-in-chief has a sizable audience on the social media website -- more than 66 million followers. Twitter is his megaphone and bully pulpit.
    But while most Americans aren't so devoted to their social media page, the ones who stick with it dominate the conversation, according to a recent study of political speech on Twitter by the Pew Research Center. Most political tweets -- 97 percent -- from U.S. adults come from just 10 percent of users.
    During a yearlong study that ended in June, researchers found that while we think of Trump as a prolific tweeter, his critics are also vocal.
    "Tweets from users who strongly disapprove of Trump are especially prominent: This group generates 80 percent of all tweets from U.S. adults and 72 percent of tweets mentioning national politics," the center reports.
     Part of the explanation is that Twitter has a larger share of users who disapprove of the president and his policies. "The share of U.S. adults on Twitter who strongly disapprove of Trump (55 percent) is 7 percentage points higher than the share of the general public that holds this view (48 percent)," according to Pew. Those who approve of the president create 25 percent of tweets mentioning national politics.
     Among those with public accounts, 39 percent tweeted at least once about national politics. They mentioned voting, national politicians, institutions or groups. A total of 2,427 respondents with public Twitter accounts participated in the survey, the center reports, and these users produced more than 1.1 million tweets over the study period. The study defined political tweeters  as those who tweeted at least five times in total, and at least twice about national politics during the year.
     But the research also showed that politics is a small part of the Twitter conversation. So maybe most users would rather see videos of cats sledding.  


     Study: Americans more negative on Twitter

     Americans worry about social media's influence


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