There are plenty of issues that separate the Democratic and Republican parties - abortion rights, taxes, and marriage equality, just to name a few. But there's apparently another arena where the two parties differ - social media. According to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Democrats are much more likely to use social networking sites like Facebook for political purposes.
This includes things like debating political issues with other people. 32% of Democrats said that social networks are at least somewhat important for that activity, compared with only 24% of Republicans and 23% of Independents. Democrats also think that social networking sites are important for keeping up with political news by a margin of 48% to 34% over Republicans.
Democrats, over Republicans, also think social media is a good tool for recruiting people to get involved with issues, and finding people that are likeminded politically.
For Democrats, social media also spurs involvement:
"Democrats and liberals who use social networking sites are more likely than others to say their activities on the sites have led them to become more active: 33% of SNS-using Democrats say this, compared with 24% of both SNS-using Republicans and SNS-using independents. Some 39% of SNS-using liberals say their use of the sites has gotten them more involved in an issue, compared with 24% of SNS-using conservatives and 21% of SNS-using moderates." says Pew.
Liberals, in general, are just more likely to use social media like Facebook and Twitter. 74% of internet-using liberals use social networking sites. Only 60% of internet-using conservatives do. Pew says that no statistical difference existed when you compare "Democrats" and "Republicans," as opposed to "Liberals" and "Conservatives."
When you look at the entirety of social media users, only 16% say that they have changed some aspect of their political views due to social media activity. 25% say that it has made them more involved in politics, and only 9% say it has made them less involved.
No matter who you are and what your party affiliation is, it might be a good idea to at least filter your political comments just a little bit. 18% of respondents admitted to blocking, hiding, or unfriending someone based on a political post. But on the other hand, 16% said they have followed or friended someone specifically because of a political post.