If you’ve ever felt like your Twitter feed is one big echo chamber, that’s because it is. Now, a new study helps explain why. In short: most of Twitter really is the same people talking.
A new study from the Pew Research Center proves, once again, that what you see on Twitter isn’t even close to representative of how most people think or act. One big reason for that: most people on Twitter still don’t tweet that much. According to Pew, about 80 percent of tweets are sent by just 10 percent of users.
“The median user tweets just twice each month, but a small cohort of extremely active Twitter users posts with much greater regularity,” Pew reports. “As a result, much of the content posted by Americans on Twitter reflects a small number of authors.”
This isn’t a new trend, either. It’s long been the case that most Twitter users simply don’t tweet that much, if they tweet at all. What is surprising is how just how consistent this trend has been throughout Twitter’s history. A study conducted a decade ago in 2009 by Harvard Business Review found that around 10 percent of users sent about 90 percent of all tweets.
So what exactly do these “most prolific” tweeters look like? According to Pew, they’re more likely to be “younger, more highly educated and wealthier than the general public.” Twitter users are also more likely to be Democrats, with 63 percent of Twitter users between 18 and 49 identifying as Democrats, the study found.
If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, then it’s likely that none of this is particularly surprising. As Wired summed up the findings, “Twitter users are richer and more woke than the rest of us.”
But it’s not especially good news for Twitter, which has been desperately trying to convince Republican officials that it’s not actually biased against conservatives. Pew’s study also comes one day after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Oval Office meeting with Donald Trump, in which he reportedly complained about his follower count.
In any case, it’s a good reminder to all us “prolific tweeters” that our Twitter obsession isn’t as productive as it may seem.