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Tweeting Tweeters in Profile

Tweeting Tweeters in Profile

Twitter takes an important role in journalistic coverage but also in communication research. Numerous research projects focus on the analysis of tweeted contents, the distribution of hashtags or follower-followed structures. Journalists, on the other hand, do not only use tweets of politicians or prominent figures in diverse contexts but also include opinions of “normal citizens” as “reactions of the Internet” into their coverage. The attention that has been paid to the micro-blogging service is relatively high compared to a relatively low usage of Twitter in Germany. This situation can be explained by considering the easy access to publicly expressed contents and available interfaces provided by Twitter. The small effort that is necessary to access data and direct quotes poses the risk to science and journalism to overestimate the significance of expressed opinions and existing structures on Twitter. This does not only apply to the small number of onliners who actually use Twitter compared to the overall population but also to the type of person that uses Twitter as a public stage to express personal opinions.

While there is relatively meaningful information on the number of users in Germany, little is known about the percentage of active tweeters and their personality characteristics.
The project has been able to close this research gap in part by determining the proportion of active tweeters, the personality traits of active tweeters, and if they differ in their personality structure from the overall population.
The results of the project have been published as an article in M&K 2/2018 and are available online:
Hölig, S. (2018): Eine meinungsstarke Minderheit als Stimmungsbarometer?! Über die Persönlichkeitseigenschaften aktiver Twitterer [A Minority with Strong Opinions as a Barometer of Mood?! About the Personality Traits of Active Tweeters]. In: Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, Volume 66(2), pp.140-169 (pdf).
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Project Description

Supported by a professional survey company, an online survey with about 800 participants was conducted in order to answer the research questions. The sample consisted of a representative image of the Internet using community aged 18 and older (n=600) in Germany. After fulfilling the online-representative basis sample, Twitter users who tweet at least several times a week were over-recruited until a quoted sample of n=200 had been reached.

Project Information


Duration: 2017-2017

Research programme:
RP1 - Transformation of Public Communication

Involved persons

Dr. Sascha Hölig

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dr. Sascha Hölig
Senior Researcher Media Use

Dr. Sascha Hölig

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 84
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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