They say you should never discuss politics or religion, right? Well this advice seems to hold true according a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that on social networking sites.
Postings on social networking sites reveal surprises for many users when it comes to the political views of their friends. Nearly 40% of users discovered through postings by friends that their political beliefs were different than they thought. A small percentage of users blocked, unfriended or hidden someone on the site because their postings were too frequent or they disagreed with them.
Three-quarters of social networking site users say their friends post at least some content related to politics on the sites from time to time. They amount to 40% of the entire adult population.
For some users politics is an off-limits subject. Some 22% of say they have decided not to post political comments or links to political material because they were worried it might upset or offend someone.
The survey suggests that when people are on Facebook or Twitter many are not particularly passionate about politics. It also shows that many friendships are not centered on political discussion and that many networks are not built with ideological compatibility as a core organizing principle.
But the opposite trend holds true for a smaller number of social network users. Sixteen per cent have friended or followed someone because that person shared the user’s political views. In addition:
- 47% of SNS users have hit the “like” button in response to political comments or material posted by someone else.
- 38% have posted positive comments in response to a political post or status update from someone else.
The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted for Pew by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older.
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