The tech elite is “a class for itself,” a study published in PLoS ONE journal found.
Researchers Hilke Brockmann, Wiebke Drews, and John Torpey concluded that the tech elite had “a distinct social identity” that made them easily identifiable in “the large pool of Twitter users.”
Looking at the Forbes list of the 100 richest people in tech, the researchers analyzed their use of language and emotions, using machine-learning approaches.
At the top of the list was Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
His net worth skyrocketed in 2020 with an increase of $72.7 billion.
Following closely behind was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — although the latter’s wealth also increased substantially later in the year, taking him to over $100 billion.
Gaps between the tech elite and the rest of the population
The study examined how the language used by the tech elite differed from the rest of the “American Twitter-using population.”
They found that “disruption is consistently at the core of the communications of the tech elite,” who favor words including “can,” “great,” “people,” and “new.”
Their language was also much more achievement-oriented, using words that fell into an “achievement” category a total of 19,431 times.
This figure was twice as much as the general population’s, which came in at 9,439 times.
They also tended to draw more links between merit and employment compared with the general population.
The team hypothesized that the tech elite “saw its endeavors in ‘entrepreneurial technoscience’ as driven by a desire to ‘make the world a better place.'” They found that the language they used also reflected this goal.