October 14, 2017
And everyone is judging you.
You’ve had it with this election cycle. The name-calling. Thebaby-banishing. The multitudinous email scandals.
So you log onto Facebook and fire off a post pumping Hillary Clinton, defending Donald Trump, or, perhaps, reminding everyone that Jill Stein exists. With each accumulating Like, you feel like you’ve accomplished something, like you’ve awoken the masses from this great national nightmare, and like maybe, just maybe, you’ve even changed some minds.
Except you haven’t—at least, not according to new research from the social media marketing firm Rantic. It recently surveyed more than 10,000 people on Facebook, spread evenly across political affiliations. It found that 94 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats, and 85 percent of independents say they have never changed their view of an issue because of a Facebook post. The majority of people from all political affiliations also say social media is an inappropriate place to express political beliefs. That’s despite the fact that the survey showed 39 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of Democrats, and 26 percent of independents have posted political content on Facebook.
But while all those political posts might not pack the punch we all hope they would, they do have some unintended consequences. The majority of both Republicans and Democrats say they judge their friends based on what they write on social media about politics. What’s more, 12 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of Democrats, and 9 percent of independents who responded say they’ve unfriended someone because of those posts.
All that said, research is still out on how sharing stories from WIRED impacts friendships, and since other research shows that sharing this stuff makes you happy, by all means, keep doing that.