Friday, 8 March 2013

Twitter: Liberal, Conservative or Neither?

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Pew research this week published the results of a really interesting survey that they’ve been taking over the past two years. Essentially, I think the question that they were trying to answer was whether Twitter is a fundamentally liberal, or conservative platform when compared with broader public opinion.

I think it’s neither. I think Twitter is only a platform, and the most vocal people on there are neither liberal or conservative. In fact, I think that these political groupings are becoming increasingly blurred.

I would say that, barring politicians or political party members, the overall mood of Twitter is one of anti-authoritarianism. Anti-Orwellian. Anti-surveillance state.

I see the value in this.

Pew Research point to the Obama vs Romney election last year as a defining moment - the best way - to measure whether the platform is predominantly one nor the other.

People don’t work like that. I’m sure that many people that voted for Obama as ‘the lesser of two evils’, who supported him in his debates, who had bumper stickers, who follow and retweet his messages, are equally as disgusted with the US administration’s use of Drone strikes in Pakistan. People who agree with Ron Paul on certain topics. I’m sure that over here in Britain, people agree with Ed Miliband on some things, David Cameron on others, and neither most of the time. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

To disagree is not, and shouldn’t be, a fundamental signifier of your political allegiance. I think that the beauty of Twitter is that it shows us as we really are: neither conservative nor progressive, liberal, illiberal, libertarian or socialist.

I believe that are all fundamentally contrarian. That’s what makes us interesting. You can’t apply the God-complex to humanity on this scale - even on a social network.

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