Gay Marriage Debate Forces Twitter Users to Draw Lines in the Sand

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It appears that gay rights and marriage equality are issues that compel people to speak their minds, no matter what the cost. It's just one of those topics that people know will cause fervent debate, but it's simply too important to stay silent.

After a quick glance down your Twitter stream or your Facebook news feed, this is more than obvious.

But what you're about to see is a simple graph that shows exactly how much of a disruption in the normal Twitter flow has been caused by the reinvigorated same-sex marriage debate (thanks the the Supreme Court's interest in the topic).

First spotted by SFGate's Tech Chronicles blog, it looks like the use of the term "unfollow" has seen a surge in the days leading up to the opening arguments in the two same-sex marriage Supreme Court cases.

Here's the past week's worth of mentions on Twitter (provided by Topsy). The yellow is mentions of "unfollow." You can see the spike occurred near similar spikes for terms like "gay marriage" (blue) and "same-sex" (red).

It doesn't take a genius to infer as to why these terms saw a similar surge. For the most part, you see people drawing a line in the sand, saying "hey, I support/oppose gay marriage, and if you don't like it you can unfollow me."

For example:

Just FYI, the gay marriage support vastly outweighs the gay marriage opposition if you just scan Twitter.

Then you have the people who have already made the decision to unfollow someone based on one of their tweets:

Also, people that are warning others that they will be unfollowed if they tweet a certain way:

And judging by the sheer volume of gay marriage-related tweets I've seen in the past couple of days, I can assure you that there is probably a whole lot of unfollowing going on.

[Image via erin_wagner, Instagram]
Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

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