A new study published in the Journal of Communication claims tweets sent from smartphones are more ego-centric than those sent from computers. Not only that, the posts were also found to be 25% more negative.
Dhiraj Murthy, a researcher from the University of London, came to this conclusion after analyzing nearly 235 million tweets over the course of a 6-week period back in 2013. The tweets all originated from the US and were divided into mobile, non-mobile and mixed sources. The study was designed to understand how a person is likely to present themselves based on the platform they were using.
The scientists scrutinized the language used by people through social psychological methods. They took note of the frequency and ratio of words traditionally associated with social and behavioral characteristics such as me, my, mine and self for egocentricity. The researchers further linked words like pain, agony and grief to negativity. They also observed the time and day when individuals tweeted.
Twitter posts have the maximum amount of pessimism in the morning and evening. Sunday mornings are an exception though, as it’s the day when people tweet their least egocentric thoughts. It also lessens while individuals are at work, but rises again when they leave. Murthy additionally did not find the posts to be gendered in any way.
According to the paper, both mobile and non-mobile sources tended to use masculine words no matter what time it was. Murthy asserts this is the first in-depth study of how communication varies according to platform in social media. He feels this is a critical area of research as people are increasingly networking directly from their smartphones and moving away from using computers.