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Reading Twitter: Tweets reveal global news readership patterns

Sep 26 2013, 17:15 IST
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Americans and Brits are drawn to opinion and world news, while Brazilians go for sports. (AP) Americans and Brits are drawn to opinion and world news, while Brazilians go for sports. (AP)
SummaryAmericans and Brits are drawn to opinion and world news, while Brazilians go for sports.

Different countries have stronger preference towards different types of articles - Americans and Brits are drawn to opinion and world news, while Brazilians go for sports, a Twitter analysis has found.

Researchers used data collected from Twitter to study readers' news preferences across the globe and discovered that different countries have stronger preference towards different types of articles.

While Americans and British readers like to read opinion and world news, Spaniards prefer local and national news, Brazilians are drawn to sports and arts, and Germans go for politics and economy on Twitter.

The researchers also found that German and Spanish readers are more likely to read national newspapers compared to British readers, who prefer foreign publications.

Researchers Marco Toledo Bastos and Gabriela Zago conducted the study by monitoring tweeted news links from eight of the largest national newspapers in the US, UK, Spain, Brazil, and Germany over two weeks in 2012.

The researchers analysed 123,191 tweets from Germany, 394,533 from Brazil, 792,952 from Spain, 537,606 from the UK, and 994,417 from US, totalling of 2,842,699 tweets.

Through their analysis, the researchers found not only that social media helps to demonstrate readership patterns, but also that through social media the readers themselves play an active role in determining the popularity of different news stories.

"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," researchers said.

The study was published in the journal SAGE Open.

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