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For this project, Demos researchers built two statistical models, which predicted that for every ten more tweets sent by a user containing terms like ‘courage’, ‘empathy’ and ‘humility’, that account would send five more tweets expressing gratitude, and one more link to fundraising campaigns. The research also found that the number of tweets sent linked to a charitable campaign is positively related to the overall amount of money raised by that campaign.

Further findings from the report reveal that:

  • Interaction on social media can provide the encouragement people need to persevere in developing a skill. There is a significant positive relationship between people on Twitter engaging with others committing publicly to programmes such as ‘#100daysofanimation’, and the length of time for which people continue using them.
  • During 203 days, just over one million tweets were sent from the UK using one of the terms ‘courage’, ‘empathy’, ‘honesty’ and ‘humility’, with 71 per cent of these using terms to praise or condemn the character of others.
  • Discussion of morality on Twitter differs noticeably from its use in other public environments. Twitter users in the UK tend to discuss empathy more than both parliamentarians (as recorded in Hansard) and broadcasts on the BBC.
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