Social Networks Activity & Political Affiliation

Social Networks Activity & Political Affiliation

While Social Network Sites (SNS) may may have a great impact on many areas of an individuals life, more and more research is coming out that politically related campaign and policy information on social media sites plays only a modest role in influencing most users’ views and political activities. At the same time, it's becoming increasingly clear that people who self-identify themselves as "Liberals" or "Democrats" are more likely to say that interactions on social media sites are important to them. More importantly, "Liberals" or "Democrats" are more likely to say that information and discussion that is politically engaging stands out more and is important in their use of the sites.

social-networking-and-politics

Social Media Research

The latest research released on the topic is from The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project. First, the research indicates that people who describe their political beliefs as moderate or liberal are more likely than conservatives to use social networking sites in the first place. Specifically 74% of internet users who describe themselves as liberal use social media sites, as opposed to only 60% of conservative Internet users.

Secondly, "Democrats" find social networking sites more important for a variety of political activities then "Republicans" and "Independents".

 

Important

Democrats

Republicans

Independents

Keeping up with political news

48%

34%

33%

Recruiting people to get involved with political issues that matter to you

35%

 25%

22%

Finding other people who share your views about important political issues

34%

23%

22%

Debating or discussing political issues with others

32%

24%

23%

Source: PewResearch Feb 2012, September 2012

Third, social media sites may only have moderate importance. 84% of social networking site users say they have posted little or nothing related to politics in their recent status updates, comments, and links and 59% say their friends on the sites have posted little or nothing about politics.

The last bit of insight we can gather from the study is that of the 33% of respondents that stated that they “very often” have political discussions with family and friends, are overwhelmingly those individuals that use social networking sites for political purposes.

Conclusion

It seems that people use SNS for political activity to the same extent that they engage in political activity offline. While the majority of the country is not engaged in politics, their political activity on SNS is unengaged, as well.