Current Events
April 7, 2022

Polarizing Divisiveness, Even Among America’s Younger Generation

Among the younger generation, Elon Musk seems to resonate with more conservative people.

Elon Musk recently bought 9.2% stake in Twitter (valuation of nearly $3 billion), making him Twitter’s largest shareholder.  We went out to 100 GenZer social media users to ask them a simple question: What are your thoughts and feelings about this purchase?

Why did we target GenZ?  Well, GenZ (16 to 25 years old) is the world's youngest and most digitally adept group. Already forcing change to decades-old business practices, beliefs – they are the future.   They are also increasingly aware of current events, opinionated, and involved.  Who better to ask?

Using Glimpse’s proprietary tool to ask an open-ended conversational question allowed participants to give robust, thoughtful answers.   (and we got these answers in under 2 hours)

Using our AI powered Natural Language Processing, we detected that over 50% of them have a positive ‘sentiment’, with excitement, and satisfaction, coming out as prevalent ‘tones’. 15% had a negative sentiment, and 35% neutral.

We followed this up with another simple multiple-choice question: How much do you like Elon Musk?  Unsurprisingly, those who approve of the stock purchase generally like him, and those who don’t approve, generally don’t like him.

What I found interesting was that those who approved, and those who like Elon, tend to skew more conservative / independent, and male.

Some interesting comments:

A 25-year-old conservative from the south, says:

“I think that Elon Musk is ultimately trying to help the world and make it a better place from what I can see so I don’t think it will be a bad thing that he acquired a big stake in Twitter. It makes me think that maybe Twitter will now have more educational things on it and it will filter out some negativity and pop culture drama but I’m not entirely sure.”

When asked a follow up question about the future of social media:

“I think the future of social media looks like it does now. We already use it for everything, I think at some point it will combine with the metaverse maybe and we will be able to sink ourselves more into it which I doubt will be a good thing.”

Says a 22 year old conservative Native American male from the Midwest:

“i think its a good investment”.

And an east Asian 24 year old conservative college student says

“Interesting that how He only purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter Inc and it already become the biggest shareholder in the Micro-blogging site”.

A 19-year-old white male from the Northeast says

“I think that this is a very good marketing event for Twitter, creating an influx of users.”, and that “The future of social media seems to be heavily automated and AI centric.”

15% of GenZer’s have a negative opinion of Elon Musk.  When asked what they think, a lot of them just don’t care.  Some interesting polarizing comments:

“I think this is stupid, and that Elon Musk should drop out of Twitter and deactivate his account and donate all of his money to clean energy and environmental protection. Billionaires have no right to own everything. I also think that he will likely abuse his power over the site.” says a 20-year-old liberal, white male from the Midwest.  “If Elon Musk owns stake in Twitter, I think the future of social media is dismal. It's all over-sanitized and used for advertising.”

Some people are just curious and optimistic.  Here is a 16-year-old BIPOC female in the Northeast

“I think he did something good! To own half of a popular- social media site is pretty cool! He already has billons though, why does he need this? [….] I feel that social media will lead to different ways to meet people new“.

Overall, Glimpse showed polarizing sentiment around Elon Musk. While in media, it can sometimes feel that GenZ rallies around Elon Musk and his online antics, using Glimpse’s tool becomes clear that Genz is divided – much like the rest of the United States – around Elon Musk and perhaps other hot topic issues.