Pew Research has just published findings on social nets and political activities. Here are some key findings:

  • 36% of social networking site (SNS) users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in keeping up with political news.
  • 26% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in recruiting people to get involved in political issues that matter to them.
  • 25% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them for debating or discussing political issues with others.
  • 25% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in finding other people who share their views about important political issue

In each activity, Democrats who use social networking sites are more likely than Republicans or independents to say the sites are important.

And:

  • 25% of SNS users say they have become more active in a political issue after discussing it or reading posts about it on the sites.
  • 16% of SNS users say they have changed their views about a political issue after discussing it or reading posts about it on the sites.

But not surprisingly, politics is not the driver of social net sites. The vast majority of SNS users (84%) say they have posted little or nothing related to politics in their recent status updates, comments, and links.

Looking only at the 33% of respondents who say they “very often” have political discussions with family and friends, these most politically engaged citizens are more likely to say that:

  • they post about politics on SNS and are more likely to say that most of the material they post relates to politics;
  • the sites are useful to them in their political activities;
  • they have become more involved in an issue after reading what others have said on social networking sites;
  • their friends’ posts are about politics and that their friends’ posts are compatible with their own political views;
  • they will challenge their friends’ SNS material about politics if the disagree with it;
  • they have been challenged on their own political posts.

And on the fun side …

After two weeks of national political conventions in the US if you’re not politically over-dosed, take Pew’s quick survey — Where Do You Fit? — to locate yourself ideologically on the American political spectrum. Of course, ‘furriners’ can take the quiz too, in case you’re planning to re=locate … the issues will be familiar to you.

Next week, back to serious fundraising!

Tom

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