Politics

2. Twitter news consumers visit site more often than other Twitter users but still go there most for entertainment

Twitter news consumers younger, more educated and more likely to be liberal Democrats than other users

Twitter news consumers stand out in several ways from other Americans who use Twitter. Notably, they’re more likely to be Democrats, and liberal Democrats in particular – liberal Democrats (including those who lean to the party) make up 42% of Twitter news consumers, versus 28% of other users. Only about one-in-five in each group are conservative Republicans or GOP leaners. Twitter news consumers also are younger, on average, than other Twitter users – about three-quarters (77%) are under 50 – and more likely to have a higher education: 46% have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 36% of other users.

Just under half of Twitter news consumers say they visit the site every day

Twitter users who get news on the site also tend to be much more engaged than other users in a variety of ways – not just related to news. For example, they say they visit the site far more often than other users. Close to half of Twitter news consumers (46%) say they visit the site every day, compared with 19% of other users. This includes 13% of Twitter news consumers who say they log onto the site “too many times to count” during a typical day.

Both Twitter news consumers and other users cite entertainment as the most important reason they use Twitter

For both Twitter news consumers and other Twitter users, entertainment tops the list of most important reasons for using the site, named by 41% of news consumers and 43% of other users. But Twitter news consumers are much more likely than others to say that their most important reason for using Twitter is to stay informed (24% vs. 10%). 

Similar shares of both groups say Twitter is most useful for seeing different points of view, as a way to express their opinions, or as a resource for work or school.

Twitter news consumers are more likely to say the site has impacted their lives in a variety of ways

Twitter news consumers are more likely than other users to say that the site has impacted them in a number of ways. Just over half (57%) say that using Twitter has increased their understanding of current events, more than double the share of other Twitter users who say this (23%). Twitter users who get news on the site also are more inclined to say that using Twitter has increased how much they know about celebrities and public figures (39% vs. 22% of other users), and to say that using Twitter has increased their sense of political engagement (37% vs. 15%).

Twitter news consumers more likely than other users to say that Twitter is good for democracy

At the same time, Twitter news consumers also are about twice as likely as other users to say that using Twitter has increased their stress levels (31% vs. 14%). Very few in either group say it has decreased their stress.

All in all, Twitter news consumers are nearly twice as likely as other users to say the site is good for American democracy (43% vs. 23%). Indeed, these news consumers are more likely to say Twitter is good for democracy than bad for democracy (36%), with 19% saying it has no impact. Twitter users who don’t get news on the site are much more negative on this question – 23% say the site is good for democracy, while 43% say it is bad for democracy, and a third say it has no impact. Twitter users overall are about evenly split between saying the site is mostly good or bad for democracy.

Twitter news consumers more likely to follow most types of accounts

Twitter users who get news there are more likely than others to follow politicians, news accounts

Twitter users who get news on the site are more likely than other users to follow several types of accounts, including but not limited to political figures and news reporters or organizations. About seven-in-ten (72%) say they follow politicians or government figures, compared with 45% of other users. And 76% say they follow news sites or reporters as well, versus 49% of Twitter users who do not get news on the site.

Twitter news consumers more politically engaged on the site at every level

These news consumers also are slightly more likely to follow entertainment or sports figures, humor accounts, or friends or family.

Twitter users who say they get news on the platform are more likely than other users to be politically engaged on Twitter at every level – from retweeting content about a political or social issue, to tweeting about a call to action, to replying directly to a politician. For example, 41% of Twitter news consumers say they have expressed support for a candidate or campaign on Twitter in the past year, compared with 21% of other Twitter users.

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