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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : November 03, 2016


Political discussions on social media leave many 'worn out'

In less than a week the political wranglings will (mostly) be over and social media users can go back to cute cat videos. For many, the return to social media norms will be a huge relief, according to the results of a survey from the Pew Research Center.

by Helen Leggatt

According to Pew's survey, more than a third (37%) of social media users are "worn out" by the relentless reams of political content and debate they are exposed to on various platforms. Just one in five said they like seeing many political posts and discussions while 41% said they don't feel strongly either way.

Of the 4,500 people surveyed from July to August 2016, about half said they thought the tone of political discussions on social media were negative and that discussion of politics online was angrier (49%), less respectful (53%) and less civil (49%) than in other venues.

Aaron Smith, associate director of research for Pew Research, said people were likely to be open and harsh when discussing politics online rather than in person. This, he said, can quickly escalate disagreements about which candidate or policy is best.

"In all the ways we measure, it is more intense during presidential campaigns, and this one is particularly intense in a lot of ways," Smith added.

Additional findings from Pew's survey include:

- 59% said online interactions with people they disagree with politically were stressful and frustrating; just 35% find them interesting and informative;

- 64% said such encounters leave them wondering if they have even less in common with those people than they originally thought;

- 83% try to ignore political posts from friends that they disagree with;

- 39% said they have blocked or unfriended other social media users or changed settings in order to see fewer posts from them over politics.






Tags: politics, presidential elections, social media








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