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Although Twitter is hailed as a democratic medium for the dissemination of marginalized political views, experts have found that it is mostly an echo chamber for the opinions expressed by elite television personalities. In a new report conducted at Cornell University called "Rising Tides or Rising Stars? Dynamics of Shared Attention on Twitter during Media Events," researchers found that "during live media events when the largest number of people are paying attention, people move away from this deliberative potential by replacing existing interpersonal social dynamics with increased collective attention to existing 'stars.'"

What's the Big Idea?

On the one hand, social scientists hypothesize that as breaking news occurs, and a wide range of often contradictory reports emerge, people look to the integrity of established news outlets to deliver accurate news. On the other hand, researchers were disappointed that the promises of social media are going unfulfilled. "Social media has so much potential to improve the diversity of voices and quality of exchanges in political discussion by giving individuals the technological capability to compete with the mass media in disseminating information, setting agendas and framing conversation."

Read more at Phys.org

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