Will posting Facebook status updates and Twitter messages supporting your favorite candidate help him or hurt him on election day? The answer may not be as simple as it seems.
If you missed last week’s debate and logged onto Facebook Wednesday morning looking to find out what you missed, your take on who won and what happened would have been come, by and large, from the partisan point of view of your friends:
That’s homophily, or the idea that we tend to cluster with like-minded people. By nature, our social networks are polarizing so such messages usually serve to reinforce our own point of view. Facebook, in other words, isn’t necessarily the place to go for a thoughtful exchange on differing points of view.
Sociologists and political scientists will be closely watching the 2012 presidential election, as it presents another data set in the young field of studying how social media impacts voting rates. The only clear message now is nothing is clear, and what you post on Facebook on election day may – or may not – play a role in the outcome. Continue Reading »