The Pew Research Center published on Monday an insightful report about Twitter's narrative around important public events in the United States (U.S). The analysis spans over a year's time that examined eight different news events that generated a different narrative that deviated from the general public.
The research looked at the social networks Tweets and compared those results with national polls. The results vary from event to event with a tendency to be Democratic, liberal, negative, positive, neutral and others.
“The lack of consistent correspondence between Twitter reaction and public opinion is partly a reflection of the fact that those who get news on Twitter – and particularly those who tweet news – are very different demographically from the public,” according to the Pew Center's findings.
The news events that attracted attention on the microblogging website were the following: Obama's reelection, First presidential debate, Supreme Court health care ruling, Obama's 2013 inaugural speech, Obama's 2012 State of the Union, Paul Ryan choice as VP nominee, Calif. Same-sex marriage ruling, and Kerry Sec. Of State nomination.
A closer look at an example where the public opinion varied from Twitter's conversation was illustrated in last February when a federal court determined or ruled that a California law banned same sex marriage was unconstitutional. Twitter users reacted positively with 46 percent while 8 percent perceived negatively the ruling.
For the unconstitutionality for same sex marriage a national poll was by far a different story. It was found that 33 percent of people reacted in a positive manner while 44 percent expressed a negative stance towards the ruling.
Another very memorable moment for Twitter was President Barack Obama's picture embracing Michelle Obama, which turned out to be a record-breaking moment for the social network. This resulted in a positive event for the American president. An enormous percentage of Twitter users commented favorably with 77 percent while 23 percent replied disfavorably.
The data that was gathered or derived from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) tools coming from traditional media research methods, and the organizations Crimson Hexagon (CH) that monitors textual content from millions of posts on social media networks.
Twitter is its own platform, the users who engage on the platform have shaped its identity around important news events. The research suggests that for any given event Twitter will a different dialogue or narrative about the subject.
“Overall, the reaction to political events on Twitter reflects a combination of the unique profile of active Twitter users and the extent to which events engage different communities and draw the comments of active users. While this provides an interesting look into how communities of interest respond to different circumstances, it does not reliably correlate with the overall reaction of adults nationwide,” according to the PEJ.