In this article we reflect, from a theoretical and critical perspective, on how public opinion is currently shaped by social networks, focusing on the case of Twitter. Going beyond a purely sociological or factual concept of public opinion, we will offer arguments for expanding its meaning while proposing a model of deliberative democracy. In order to do so, we use some well-known constructs from the field of social communication, such as the spiral of silence or digital niches, which provide a referent for interpreting the phenomenon of social networks from a critical hermeneutics. The analysis of Twitter as a platform for public opinion also aims to provide the keys to building an educational outlook, understanding that one of the purposes of this area in a democracy is to educate citizens about digitally formed currents of opinion, especially those supporting populist political movements and aggravated by the spread of fake news. After delving into the socio-political dimension of social networks such as Twitter, we conclude by proposing a normative concept of interactive public opinion, a proposal that will be specified in a set of educational competences at the epistemological and civic ethical level relating to the democratic use of social media.
This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 274 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: Gozálvez, V., Romero-Rodríguez, L. M., & Larrea-Oña, C. (2019). Twitter y opinión pública. Una perspectiva crítica para un horizonte educativo | Twitter and public opinion. A critical view for an educational outlook. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 77 (274), 403-419. doi: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP77-3-2019-04