These are some interesting numbers, but as a regular Twitter user, who doesn’t tweet about politics, it also doesn’t surprise me because it’s exactly what I see when I compare “on Twitter” to “off Twitter”.
“According to just about every study that has been conducted on the question, Twitter is not representative in the slightest. The Pew Research Center, for example, has found that less than a quarter of Americans log on to Twitter with any regularity. And as The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal points out, those regular users differ from the wider population: “In the United States, Twitter users are statistically younger, wealthier, and more politically liberal than the general population.”
Politics Twitter is a bubble in itself. Among the minority of Americans who regularly use Twitter, a majority never tweet about politics. According to a 2016 study, fewer than one in five active Twitter users—which is to say about one in 20 Americans—report posting about politics “some” or “a lot” of the time.”
And there are not just political ramifications at play here, there are lots of business decisions being made based on Twitter reactions. Lots of companies trying to appear hip, and appeal to the more political minded people they see on Twitter and kind of forgetting that the group maybe doesn’t represent their customers very well. It also would behoove media outlets to not measure and report on public reaction by taking to Twitter and quoting a couple of users. They don’t even begin to represent public opinion.
It’s an easy mistake to make, but we would all do well to remember that the loudest voices in any room, online, or in person, don’t speak for everyone, or even most of the people in the room, let alone those outside of it. Assuming they do will only lead to the marginalization of every one else. Then again, maybe that’s their goal in the first place. We shouldn’t allow that, and that’s why I try to use Twitter, and every other tool we have online to share actual useful information, whether it be about mental health, or career advice, etc. That’s the stuff that really matters. The rest is “sound and fury, signifying nothing”. At least in my opinion, and that’s as political as I’ll get.