While we can’t comment on the veracity, tactfulness, or true motivations behind any of it, we can report that a majority of social media users are using it to engage politically – in some fashion.
We can tell you that thanks to a study from Pew Research’s Internet and American Life Project, which asked voting age adults about their online political activities this summer.
According to the survey, 60% of Americans participate in some form of social media like Facebook or Twitter. Out of those 60%, 66% had performed at least one of Pew’s eight “political activities.” That mean that 39% of all American adults are being political on social media sites.
Here are the eight “political activities” that Pew asked about:
Liking content on political or social issues; encouraging people to vote; posting their own political thoughts; reposting other’s political posts; encouraging others to take action on an issue; posting links to political articles; joining a political group; following elected officials and candidates.
The most common political activity was liking or promoting someone else’s political content. 38% said they had done that. 35% said that they had used social media to encourage others to vote, and 34% of social media users posted their own political content. Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans are the two most-likely groups to post their own political thoughts on social media.
Only 20% of social media users said they followed politicians on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Conservative Republicans were more likely to have done so.
As you may expect, younger Americans were more likely to perform all eight of the political activities. The 65 and older group were the least likely to do all eight activities except for one – reposting political content (it’s the chain email for the new era!).
Also found in this study: 100% of people won’t think twice about unfollowing or unfriending you if you say something they don’t agree with.*
*Though true, not found in this Pew study.
[Image Courtesy Nedral, Flickr]