Twitter reveals how people in different countries read the news

The way people read news is changing – instead of reading the morning paper many newsreaders simply check their Twitter feed instead.

Twitter is a vehicle that distributes news to people in the way they want it – it is essentially catered for them. It allows people to stay up-to-date with news that is relevant to their interests (based on who they follow).

However, are there differences in Twitter readership patterns around the world? The answer is yes, according to an article published in SAGE OPEN.

Researchers conducted a study that monitored news links from eight of the largest national newspapers in the United States, Britain, Spain, Brazil, and Germany. They analyzed a total of 2,842,699 tweets over a 2 week period, which included:

  • 994,417 from the U.S.
  • 537,606 from the UK
  • 23,191 tweets from Germany
  • 394,533 from Brazil
  • 792,952 from Spain

Results of the research indicate that there is a marked difference in the type of article people read depending on where they live.

The investigators found that:

  • American and British readers are more inclined to read opinion and world news
  • Germans are more drawn to political and economic news
  • Spanish readers tend to read more local and national news
  • Brazilians prefer sports and arts news

British readers are also more likely to read foreign publications, while Germans and Spaniards tend to stick to national news. American newspapers “presented a lower-than-average volume of articles about Arts, Economy, and Local news, and a higher-than-average volume of news articles covering Entertainment, Fashion.”

The authors added that social media (such as Twitter) not only helps evaluate readership patterns, it also determines which news stories become popular.

The researchers concluded:

“Audiences now have the opportunity to express their agency, not only as readers of texts but also as a fundamental piece that decides which news articles are replicated and which news section gets the most attention across social networking sites.”