Twitter mostly has different comments or reaction over political decision or events compare to majority people’s perspective. PewResearchCenter did a whole year study to reach that conclusion. They compared eight different major news including the presidential election of Obama. Every now and then the comments on Twitter are free minded, but sometimes it can be the opposite. Mostly is famous of its negative attitude.
Twitter’s attitude towards some events are more supportive of demographic than average opinions. Same-sex marriage is an example – even though most people’s perspective of this incident is negative (44% compare to 33% of positive), twitter’s reaction towards this is more positive than negative (46% compare to 8%). Another example is presidential election in autumn. While the larger number of people are supporting Mitt Romney’s performance on the first round, twitter was standing behind Obama. After Obama won the campaign, most people’s feelings about this are mixed. Nearly half and half are happy and unhappy but twitter has very extreme attitude. 77% conversations are positive.
Moreover, after Obama’s second inaugural, the public showed very positive opinions during the survey while this time twitter chose to be conservative. 65% contents are neutral about that. It has the same reaction about John Kerry post-nomination. However, there are two cases out of eight during Pew’s study showed twitter’s same attitude as the public. Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate and the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Most people including conversations on twitter are not positive of Romney choosing Paul Ryan and they also don’t approve Supreme Court’s decision on health care.
Why opinions on twitter can be so unpredictable and different? One thing we know is that the twitter users who get news and write posts on that platform are very different kind of person from the public. There are not many people using twitter, not mention to regular active users. According to Pew’s survey, only 3% are active twitter users. This is why the opinions on twitter are not so representative because they are not on behalf on the public, especially when the majority users on twitter are younger generations who are Democrats. Also, because of the regulation, those who are 18 or older can participate in national survey but there is no age limitation on tweeting opinions online. Similar as condition of non American citizen people. Moreover, and more importantly, the twitter users who posted opinions of different topics or events are not the same group of people. They have more enthusiasm about Obama’s campaign than other events. More than half of users tweeted posts about presidential election. Various groups have various interests and it has nothing to do with the adults’ reactions all over the country.
- How do you think this fact will influence the results of public events? Will it actually have effects?
- In a user’s perspective, is twitter a trustworthy recourse of those sensitive topics? What about other social medias?