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Does negative tone turn you off social media?

Categories: Community, Politics, World

The reactions and opinions expressed on Twitter to major political events are vastly different -- and usually more negative -- than those found through opinion polls, says the Pew Research Center. 

twitter-support-220.jpgThe differences aren't always consistent, either, and vary from issue to issue, the study comparing the tone of tweets to the results of U.S. national polls

Sometimes, Twitter reaction is more liberal, such as the reaction to California's ruling last year that a state law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. While 46 per cent of the tweets about the ruling were positive and just eight per cent negative, polls found that in the overall population, 33 per cent of people had a positive opinion of the ruling, and 44 per cent had a negative one. 

Sometimes, it's more conservative. Twitter users were more likely to be critical of Obama's state of the union address last year or of his January inaugural speech. Just 13 per cent of the Tiwtter chatter about the inaugural address was positive, while opinion polls found 48 per cent of respondents had a good opinion of the speech. 

But there was one difference that did seem to be consistent. 
 
"Often it is the overall negativity that stands out," the report read, particularly during the U.S. election campaign. "For both candidates, negative comments exceeded positive comments by a wide margin throughout the fall campaign season." 

The study compared Twitter reaction to eight major American news events, including the first  presidential debate and the election results, to the poll results. 

"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," said the report. 

The Pew Research Center attributed the differences to a number of factors, chief among them being that so few people actually use it. The center's own survey of news consumption found that just 13 per cent of American adults said they ever used Twitter, and only three per cent said they sometimes post or repost news there. 

The study concluded that watching Twitter reaction to politics "does not reliably correlate with the overall reaction of adults nationwide." 

Have you checked out Twitter? Do you find the overall tone there or on other social media to be negative? Do you find that you are more negative on Twitter or other social media platforms? Let us know what you think. 


(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Politics, POV, social media, Twitter, U.S.

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