Social Science Computer Review

thomwithoutanh's bookmarks 2016-10-28



Hundreds of papers have been published using Twitter data, but no previous paper reports the digital divide among Twitter users. British Twitter users are younger, wealthier, and better educated than other Internet users, who in turn are younger, wealthier, and better educated than the off-line British population. American Twitter users are also younger and wealthier than the rest of the population, but they are not better educated. Twitter users are disproportionately members of elites in both countries. Twitter users also differ from other groups in their online activities and their attitudes. These biases and differences have important implications for research based on Twitter data. The unrepresentative characteristics of Twitter users suggest that Twitter data are not suitable for research where representativeness is important, such as forecasting elections or gaining insight into attitudes, sentiments, or activities of large populations. In general, Twitter data seem to be more suitable for corporate use than for social science research.


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Date tagged:

10/28/2016, 12:23

Date published:

10/28/2016, 08:23