New Study Proves Most Twitter Users Don’t Follow ‘Elite’ Political Accounts

The world of politics and America appear to go hand in hand. So many millions of people out there wake up and switch on their Twitter to see what’s trending in the world of current affairs. They’re interested in breaking stories and politics but you’ll be surprised to learn one thing.

While politics does rule the day, most users on the app do not actually follow the political accounts of elite members. This could be those hailing from Congress, the American President, or simply media outlets.

On the other hand, researchers have found out how most users of the app are more likely to follow people linked to the entertainment industry. This includes celebs like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and more.

Meanwhile, those that do follow such politically active accounts tend to stick to particular communities seen online. They’re following or sharing information that arises in political groups.

Moreover, the study also noticed other interesting findings. Those who do follow such active and elite political groups on Twitter tend to be biased politically. And like to engage with such account holders in a standard way. The end result is very similar to an echo chamber.

The authors of this particular research were seen analyzing data that span around 1.5 million users across the app. But the conclusions came after a study of 4 long years.

But the authors did see how the fraction of those showing political bias was actually much less than what they had anticipated. However, researchers claim that the accounts weren’t ordinary. They belonged to some of the most influential names out there. Such individuals are so much more vocal, they love to be active on social media, and participate a lot in engaging with audiences. In the end, it’s all related to being more visible and the term political polarization arose to a whole new meaning.

For starters, the authors concluded that about 40% of users on the Twitter platform were inclined to follow people defined as political elites. This includes pundits, presidents, journalists, and those hailing from news media outlets.

Some of the biggest account holders in the world of politics like Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Sean Hannity were studied. But to many people’s shock and surprise, just 23% of more than 1.5 million people followed such accounts. So as you can see, the fraction is rather small.

Those that did end up following big political names did also follow their in-groups. And such active account holders were seen sharing out-group posts on Twitter more frequently. And when those were shared, they were mostly related to negative posts or comments.

Those that were more conservative were more likely to share their thoughts via in-group gatherings as compared to going public. And the opposite was seen for the more liberal members of the group. But in terms of disparity, it was more or less the same here.

At a complete glance, most Americans in the group weren’t very interested in the world of politics and were found to not even follow one political elite from the list.

As you must be too, the authors of the research were definitely appalled. Many people usually link Twitter with politics, automatically. But this particular research proves otherwise.

To conclude, the researchers claim that even though the chunk of Twitter users sharing political news and opinions is smaller than anticipated, there are still quite a few who have great influence and can affect the public’s opinions with their shares.

So, keeping in mind the unpopularity of the Democrats with increased radicalization in the country and so much support for politically-themed violence, social media’s influence shouldn’t be ignored.

H/T: University of California, Davis

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