Who Is Curating My Political Feed? Characterizing Political Exposure of Registered U.S. Voters on Twitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social media platforms offer people a variety of options to engage with politics, from directly following elected officials to discussing politics with social peers. Despite major advances in recent research on online political exposure through the lens of selective exposure, filter bubbles, and ideological echo chambers, little is known about the fundamental questions of what types of political actors people are exposed to on social media, and how these distinctive types vary across sociodemographic groups. We address this gap in the literature by analyzing unique panel data on more than 600,000 registered U.S. voters on Twitter during the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign. We analyze this dataset to identify distinct types of political consumers and how they vary in terms of sociodemographics. Our findings suggest that the bulk of the population has a meaningful share of political content available from social peers, that the majority of this content originates from traditional sources of political information (media organizations, journalists, and politicians), and that media organizations are the dominant and direct source of political information on Twitter for nearly 20% of the sample population. These results advance our understanding of the way citizens learn about politics in new media and pave the way for next-step research to identify the causal effect of exposure to distinct curators of political content on individuals’ political attitudes and political behavior.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Twitter
  • curated flows
  • online media diets
  • political exposure
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Who Is Curating My Political Feed? Characterizing Political Exposure of Registered U.S. Voters on Twitter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this