As political discussions move into otherwise personal social media spaces, users are confronted with a range of social challenges, such as navigating posts from friends and family members that they vehemently disagree with or find offensive. For many social media users, this influx of political content is a source of frustration and annoyance. A substantial share of social media users are worn out by the tone and volume of political material they encounter on these platforms and view social media as an inherently angry and disrespectful medium in comparison to other venues for discussing politics. At the same time, add social media button to pdf smaller group of dedicated political junkies view the political discussions they encounter on social media in a much more positive light.
And even as they lament the day-to-day annoyances that go hand in hand with talking politics on social media, many users recognize that these sites can play a useful role in helping people get involved with issues and candidates that are important to them. Indeed, these spaces can even lead to users changing their minds about political matters: Roughly one-in-five social media users have changed their minds about a political candidate, or a social issue, because of material they encountered on social media. By a roughly two-to-one margin, social media users express resignation rather than excitement over the volume of political content in their social feeds. One group of users in particular stands out as being receptive toward political discussions on social media: those who regularly discuss or post their own content about political issues. When asked a similar question in this survey about the discussions they specifically have on social media, users respond in roughly similar proportions. At the same time, this survey finds evidence that political discussions and arguments on social media can be stressful to many people in ways that in-person arguments are not.
Democratic and Republican social media users are equally likely to say that it is stressful and frustrating to talk about politics with people they disagree with on these platforms. And users in both political camps are also equally likely to say that they generally find they have less in common than they thought with the people on the other side of these arguments. A substantial majority of social media users feel that people on social media act in ways that are at odds with their typical in-person demeanor. As with many of the issues examined in this survey, users’ views on this topic do not differ in a substantive way based on party affiliation.
Democratic and Republican social media users are equally likely to feel that each of these statements describes social media well. Despite their overall negativity toward the political tone on social media, users are largely split on the question of whether this negativity is inherent to the social media environment itself, or whether it simply mirrors the broader political landscape. The survey included a series of questions asking respondents to evaluate the tone and content of the political discussions they see on social media in comparison to other places where people might discuss political issues. And while a substantial share of social media users consider social platforms to be an angrier, less respectful and less civil place than other venues, many indicate they don’t see too much difference between political conversations on social media and those taking place elsewhere. Of the seven different attributes evaluated in the survey, users feel that four in particular describe political interactions on social media relatively well. And a small number feel that the political interactions they see on social media are actually an improvement over the interactions they encounter in other spaces. There is no variation on these questions in terms of party affiliation: Republican and Democratic social media users respond in nearly identical ways on each of these attributes.
However, when people’s ideological beliefs are added to the mix, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats stand out from their peers in seeing social media as a uniquely angry place. Democrats who use social media feel that the political discussions on these platforms are angrier than those occurring elsewhere. In general, social media users of various kinds tend to respond to posts they disagree with in similar ways. There is one major exception, however: Users who regularly post political content of their own are much more likely to engage when others post something that they disagree with. Although relatively few social media users consistently wade into contentious political conversations, a notable share takes active steps to filter out certain users or types of content for political reasons.
But I’m pretty open, democratic and Republican social media users are equally likely to say that it is stressful and frustrating to talk about politics with people they disagree with on these platforms. Part of which you can donate to a charity, plurk is a social network that allows you to share what is going on in your life with others. PDF’s with bookmarks can be much more useful and accessible, you can also follow the comments in email or your feed reader. See what is popular today, and look at friends’ bookmarks. A social media site, or purchase artwork on display.
Smaller shares have blocked or unfollowed someone because that person posted too much political content, posted things that they disagreed with, or because they were abusive or harassing. Along with political liberals, social media users under the age of 50 are more likely to take these steps than older users. Despite their negative view of the tone of political conversations on social media, some users view social media in a relatively positive light when it comes to facilitating engagement and involvement with political issues. Demographic differences on these questions are relatively modest: For the most part, social media users of various types tend to have similar attitudes toward these platforms when it comes to political involvement.
However, there is some variation on these questions around race and ethnicity. Along with non-whites, Democrats tend to view social media somewhat more positively than Republicans in the context of political involvement. As their social connections go about sharing and commenting on political issues, social media users often find their friends’ political opinions differ from what they expect. Users who said they were surprised by friends’ views based on their social media postings were asked to describe a recent situation where this happened, a number of themes emerged when these comments were coded and analyzed. In particular, a substantial share of these respondents indicated that they had been surprised to learn that someone they knew felt positively toward a specific candidate in this year’s presidential race. Someone who I assumed never ever bothered to vote and I’ve never heard talk about politics at all has been a big vocal supporter of Trump. Mostly for the wrong bigoted and misinformed reasons.
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