Brexit on Twitter: 6 Social Stats & FactsJune 24, 2016
This morning, the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union reached an unprecedented end. It became the first country to leave the 28-member bloc, leaving many to ask, “What’s next?”
The full impact of the decision has yet to be seen, but it’s clear that social media will become a forum for sharing reactions and propositions for next steps. To nobody’s surprise, Twitter was noisy throughout Thursday’s polling. While tracking the Twitter activity around Brexit, our team netted some interesting stats—and advanced our study on social media’s ability to predict polling outcomes. Here are the top insights that we gleaned:
1. Sentiment analytics forecasted a Brexit win.
While our sentiment charts reflected a neck-and-neck race…
— Zoomph (@Zoomph) June 24, 2016
A deeper look at the top positive and negative words (plus hashtags) helped us predict that Brexit would win. We collected the below data at around 12:27 AM EDT this morning, when 93% counting areas were reporting (over 30 million votes) with 51.8% vote “leave.”
Note how “voteleave” and “leave” were among the top words included in positive-leaning posts, while “remain” was among the top three words laced into negative posts. At this point, we theorized that more Twitter users were championing to leave versus remain with the EU.
“Brexit” also seemed to have a much greater foothold inside positive posts than in negative posts. Among the 800,000 tweets that we captured, it earned 151.8K mentions in positive posts, as opposed to 92K mentions in negative posts.
When we investigated top hashtags, we stumbled across similar results…
#Brexit earned nearly double the mentions in positive posts than in negative posts, and though #voteleave made an appearance on both sides of the scale, it gained much more traction in positive posts (19K mentions) than in negative ones (6K mentions).
2. Over 60% of those tweeting about Brexit were male.
Sixty-six percent of Twitter users who were posting about Brexit were men. If you consider how men have been dominating the referendum debate up until this point, this is no surprise. Previously, it was proposed that British broadcasters feature more female politicians in referendum debates instead of the middle-aged white men who’ve led both sides of the debate.
To date, our trackers show that white males have been tweeting most about Brexit.
3. Fifty-two percent of people tweeting about Brexit were Millennials.
According to our feeds, 52% of tweeters were Millennials, 27% were Gen-Xers, 11% were Baby Boomers, and the remaining 10% were Gen-Z.
Millennials have consistently supported Remain, according to preliminary surveys, including an ICM Poll conducted just 2 weeks ago. Though it was believed that Millennials could tip the votes against Brexit, The Telegraph points out that “at the last election, fewer than half of under-25s bothered to express a view against a national turnout of 66pc [percent]. More than three quarters of over-65s voted and perhaps two thirds of decided voters in this group favour an exit.”
4. Lindsay Lohan burst to life on Twitter.
Lohan was one Millennial who became very vocal last night. Her tweets have since been deleted, but luckily we saved some artifacts.
— Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) June 24, 2016
good luck with the pound.. will take you about 15 years to get it back up #REMAIN instead
— Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) June 24, 2016
She lighted up our feeds with her tweets, which didn’t go unnoticed by the larger public. Her insightful tweets even warranted some skepticism; some onlookers questioned whether Lohan’s handle was being hacked. View a full narrative of Lohan’s live tweeting.
5. Edward Snowden was an influencer.
Snowden popped up on our influencer leaderboard last night. He came in at the 25th seed, just with this one tweet:
No matter the outcome, #Brexit polls demonstrate how quickly half of any population can be convinced to vote against itself. Quite a lesson.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 23, 2016
The number one most influential was Paul Joseph Watson, a self-proclaimed “Contrarian polemicist” (we had to look “polemicist” up, too). Watson is an editor-at-large of Infowars.com and prisonplanet.com whose articles have been featured countless times on the Drudge Report. His unapologetically abrasive tweets concerning Brexit gained lots of attention from his 169k followers.
#Brexit is a crushing victory for the British people against the political establishment. Get used to it. There are many more to come.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 24, 2016
6. The debacle continues with people wondering what’s going to happen next.
Brexit won by a narrow margin of 52% votes, and our sentiment charts show that the Twitterverse is, in fact, still split almost evenly in half between negative and positive reactions to the results.
But the top most influential tweets pulled in by our trackers suggest that the debate is far from over. Twitter is abuzz with chatter about what’s actually going to happen to the UK now, David Cameron’s resignation, and the implications for the rest of the EU (some ask, “Is this the beginning of the end for the EU?”).
— Liam Pomfret (@LiamPomfret) June 24, 2016
— CNN International (@cnni) June 24, 2016
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 24, 2016
What does Brexit mean for travel? https://t.co/K5PcMtjbyc
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 24, 2016
— Bloomberg (@business) June 24, 2016
— CNN (@CNN) June 24, 2016
David Cameron resignation speech: shows poise and dignity. A lesson for many of our netas who hold onto their chair like fevicol. #Brexit
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 24, 2016
#BREAKING Juncker denies Brexit is beginning of end for EU
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 24, 2016
As expected, the polling aftermath consists of plenty of uncertainty. We plan to keep our eyes peeled on our feeds for a livestream of news and fresh insights on how the Internet is driving the conversation around Brexit-in-effect.