Sensational tweets more popular than substantive content: Study

New York, Feb 20 (IANS) Sensational content have more staying power than substantive posts on the microblogging platform Twitter, says a study.

In other words, posts about provocative topics are retweeted more by users, thereby making Twitter appear more like a tabloid than a substantive discussion forum for a casual user, the study suggests.

The findings are based on analysis of tweets sent before, during and after the Republican primary debates leading up to the 2016 US presidential election.

“Whereas during the debate tweets focused on a mix of substantive topics, the tweets that had the longest staying power after the debates were those that focused on the more sensationalist news events, often through pictures and videos,” said the study by researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in the US.

“As such, a user coming to Twitter after the debate was over would have encountered a different topical and emotional landscape than one who had been following the site in real-time, one more closely resembling a tabloid than a substantive discussion forum,” the study said.

The study found that entertaining or sensational posts wash out more substantive tweets overtime, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported on Monday.

Twitter has a greater impact on political discourse than other social media platforms because Twitter users often see content from people they do not know, one of the study authors Ron Berman from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, was quoted as saying.

Twitter users can search using a hashtag or trending topic to see public tweets from a diverse population of users.

–IANS

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