Partisan styles of self-presentation in U.S. Twitter bios

Liam Essig, Daniel DellaPosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Political polarization in the United States goes beyond divided opinions on key political issues, extending to realms of culture, lifestyle, and social identity once thought to be apolitical. Using a sample of 1 million Twitter bios, this study investigates how users’ partisan self-presentation on social media tends to include cultural as well as political markers. Representing the text in Twitter bios as semantic networks, the study reveals clear partisan differences in how users describe themselves, even on topics that seem apolitical. Consequently, active Twitter users’ political alignments can be statistically inferred from the non-political references in their bios, even in the absence of explicitly partisan language. These findings offer further evidence of partisan polarization that is aligned with lifestyle preferences. Further research is needed to determine if users are aware of that alignment, which might indicate the politicization of lifestyle preferences. The findings also suggest an under-recognized way social media can promote polarization, not through political discourse or argument, but simply in how users present cultural and lifestyle preferences on those platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1077
JournalScientific reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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