Twitter doesn’t reflect real life.
The 22% of American adults who use the social media platform are younger, wealthier, more educated and more likely to identify as Democrats than the general population, according to the Pew Research Center study.
And within those users, about half are responsible for 80% of tweets. Meaning that most of the dialogue on the platform comes from only 2% of Americans.
Prolific tweeple are more likely to be women and to post regularly about politics, according to Pew.
“That said, there are only modest differences in many attitudes between those who tweet frequently and those who do not,” the researchers Stefan Wojcik and Adam Hughes wrote.
“Twitter users as a group express distinct opinions relative to the public as a whole on some political values, particularly when it comes to views having to do with race, immigration and gender.”
Tweeters are more likely to say that immigrants make the country stronger, that black people are treated less fairly than white people and that societal barriers make it more difficult for women to get ahead.
America is nearly split between people ages 18 to 49 and those 50 and older. But 73% of US tweeters are younger than 50.
While Democrats make up 52% of the real world, 60% of tweeters are liberal. Similarly, less people lean Republican on the site than do in life (35% compared to 43%).
According to Pew, 42% of users have a college degree, compared to 31% of US adults. Forty one percent said they make more than $75,000, nine percentage points less than people overall who make that much or more.
The study was based on a survey of 2,791 users conducted between Nov. 21 to Dec. 17, 2018.