Within the months ahead of and after the contentious 2020 election, one-third of tweets from U.S. adults had been about politics or political problems, in line with a brand new Pew Analysis Heart document. However what concerning the content material and nature of those posts, akin to once they had been maximum prevalent at the website, or the phrases that almost all outstanding political from nonpolitical tweets? 

Listed here are 5 details about political content material on Twitter, in keeping with the Heart’s research of just about 1 million English-language tweets from U.S. adults posted between Might 1, 2020, and Might 31, 2021.

Pew Analysis Heart performed this find out about to realize perception into Twitter customers’ political engagement, attitudes and behaviors on Twitter. For this research, we surveyed 2,548 U.S. grownup Twitter customers in Might 2021 about their reviews at the website, in addition to how they have interaction with politics outdoor of Twitter. Everybody who took section on this survey is a member of the Heart’s American Developments Panel (ATP) – a web-based survey panel this is recruited via nationwide, random sampling of residential addresses – and indicated that they use Twitter. 

Researchers from the Heart additionally tested the real Twitter profiles of a subset of survey contributors who agreed to percentage their handles for analysis functions. First, researchers accumulated all the publicly visual tweets posted between Might 2020 and Might 2021 by way of those customers. Researchers then used a system studying classifier to spot which of the ones tweets discussed politics or political ideas.

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To spot key phrases and words that had been unique to political tweets, researchers first used pointwise mutual knowledge to resolve which phrases had been possibly to seem in a political tweet however now not a nonpolitical tweet, then calculated the percentage of political tweets referencing every unique time period or word in addition to their not unusual permutations.

This is the technique used for this research.

A majority of political tweets from U.S. adults are retweets. U.S. adults on Twitter ceaselessly submit about politics the usage of anyone else’s phrases: 62% of tweets that the Heart’s research known as political had been retweets, with out a further textual content from the consumer who shared them. That used to be considerably upper than the proportion of retweets in nonpolitical tweets posted by way of U.S. adults (38%).

The political tweets that customers selected to retweet additionally tended to be slightly common, receiving extra engagement around the platform than retweets of nonpolitical content material. The everyday (median) political tweet retweeted by way of American citizens gained a complete of four,312 likes – just about thrice as many because the median nonpolitical retweet (1,490 likes).

Within the wake of main occasions, politics makes up a bigger percentage of what U.S. adults tweet about than standard. At positive occasions over the find out about duration, political content material made up a larger-than-usual percentage of the posts from the Heart’s consultant pattern of Twitter customers, and one of the crucial maximum notable will increase coincided with main political and social occasions. For instance, the proportion of political tweets used to be particularly huge within the weeks following the killing of George Floyd by way of Minneapolis cops in Might 2020, in addition to all through the duration between the assault at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and President Joe Biden’s inauguration later that month.

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A line graph showing that politics makes up a larger share of what Americans tweet about following major political and social events

The day by day quantity of political tweeting from U.S. adults fluctuates a lot more than the day by day quantity of nonpolitical tweeting. On a regular day, the Heart’s consultant pattern of 942 grownup Twitter customers in combination posted kind of two times as many nonpolitical tweets (1,206) as political tweets (565). However the quantity of political tweeting itself various extensively from everyday. For instance, at the busiest days for political tweeting, American citizens posted over 14 occasions as many of those tweets as they did at the slowest days for political tweeting. In contrast, there used to be not up to a threefold distinction in tweet quantity for nonpolitical tweets between probably the most and least lively days for this sort of content material.

A bar chart showing that Trump tops the list of most distinctive terms in political tweets shared by U.S. adults

All over the 12 months studied, references to Donald Trump had been extra uniquely related to political content material on Twitter than some other time period. Political content material on Twitter touches on a wide selection of problems, folks and establishments of presidency. However positive phrases are way more prevalent in political tweets than in nonpolitical ones. Those “unique phrases” are phrases or words which are a lot more more likely to seem in a tweet about politics than in a nonpolitical tweet. Within the Heart’s year-long find out about duration, no time period or determine used to be extra unique to political tweets than Trump.

Mentions of the previous president – together with permutations on his title and Twitter deal with – gave the impression in 28% of political tweets from U.S. adults all through this time. Different distinctively political phrases in those tweets integrated references to the presidency, the 2020 elections, Congress, and the Republican and Democratic events.

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Political tweets from Republicans and Democrats alike are much more likely to say the other birthday celebration than their very own. One-in-ten political tweets posted by way of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents all through the find out about duration discussed the Republican Birthday celebration, whilst 7% of political tweets posted by way of Republicans and Republican leaners discussed the Democratic Birthday celebration. By way of comparability, each Democrats and Republicans discussed their very own events in about 4% in their political tweets.

Notice: This is the technique used for this research.

Samuel Bestvater  is a computational social scientist specializing in information science at Pew Analysis Heart.

Sono Shah  is a computational social scientist specializing in information science at Pew Analysis Heart.

Supply By way of https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/06/30/5-facts-about-political-tweets-shared-by-u-s-adults/