Twitter is a social media platform that is used by over 23% of Americans to share news and rumors about breaking events. Many news organizations are concerned that users' activities on Twitter are highly reactive to the moment. However, many people still enjoy the site's benefits, such as a way to share what they are reading and learn about new topics. Some may be surprised to find that Twitter can be an effective tool for tracking the news.
One study found that nearly as many Twitter users use it to keep up with the news as they do to post on it. This was the result of an online survey of more than 4,700 social media users. The American Press Institute partnered with Twitter to conduct the study. They also interviewed a number of non-Twitter users.
Using a tool called the GDELT Project, the researchers compared the coverage of Twitter to that of a standard news channel and a Google search. Using this comparison, they came up with a timeline that showed how the three platforms behaved over a 12-hour period.
The results were interesting. The most important thing to note was that, for the most part, Twitter and Google searches did not move much over the course of a day. In addition, there were only a handful of notable tweets and retweets during this time. Interestingly, Twitter and news coverage peaked in the early morning and tapered off in the late evening. While Twitter was able to boast a number of other achievements, the most impressive was the first tweet to break the news of a dam burst in Houston.
Compared to other social media sites, Twitter has a higher rate of engagement. As a result, the average user spends more time on the social network. A third of people said they are using the platform several times per day. Approximately 12% said they were posting on the platform at least once a week.
Other results showed that a large percentage of people say they are influenced by the news that comes from Twitter. Most people reported that they like reading news that is entertaining or helps them do their jobs better. More than half of them said they enjoy talking about it with friends. Not only does it help them keep abreast of the news, but it also makes them feel relaxed.
Although the study did not explore the impact that Twitter has had on the news industry, the study did show that Twitter can be an effective signal to news publishers. It is important to note, however, that while Twitter is a great place to stay informed, the service has its drawbacks.
Another concern about the platform is its safety. According to the study, one in four Twitter users reported having experienced a security breach. Twitter did not respond to an email request for comment. Nevertheless, it is clear that a large portion of Twitter users are worried about the platform's fate.