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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Campaign on Twitter

The Project on Excellence in Journalism reports:
A detailed examination of more than 20 million Tweets about the race for president finds that the political discussion on Twitter is measurably different than the one found in the blogosphere-more voluminous, more fluid and even less neutral.

But both forms of social media differ markedly from the political narrative that Americans receive from news coverage, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, which examines campaign coverage and the online conversation from May 2-November 27.

One distinguishing factor about the campaign discourse on Twitter is that it is more intensely opinionated, and less neutral, than in both blogs and news. Tweets contain a smaller percentage of statements about candidates that are simply factual in nature without reflecting positively or negatively on a candidate.

In general, that means the discourse on Twitter about the candidates has also been more negative.

The political discussion on Twitter has also fluctuated with events more than it has in the blogosphere, where the authors seem to have made up their minds and where the tone about candidates shifts relatively little. On Twitter, the conversation about a candidate sometimes changed markedly from week to week, shifting from positive to negative and vice versa.

Finally the new study found that the candidate conversation on Twitter is tremendously active-indeed the number of statements about candidates on Twitter vastly outnumber those offered in blogs by a factor of more than 9 to 1.