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Many researchers argue that the gap between the digital realm of online social networks and the physical world is narrowing. There is concrete evidence that supports the claim that some of our “real-life” actions are directly affected by what happens on social media. In context of the prompt ‘Technology and Literacy ‘ I will...
Many researchers argue that the gap between the digital realm of online social networks and the physical world is narrowing. There is concrete evidence that supports the claim that some of our “real-life” actions are directly affected by what happens on social media. In context of the prompt ‘Technology and Literacy ‘ I will discuss how social media affects the political literacy and action of our nation.
On Election Day this year Facebook had a very notable change on its site. The social network conducted their own poll of who voted and who didn’t. Users were able to declare they voted (but not who for) so all their friends could see. Facebook then showed real-time data of other users around the nation who opted in their poll. Apart from that, they had an easy option to find your assigned polling place (Rosen).
Researcher James Fowler will be pulling and analyzing the Facebook data from this election, but said the following about the same social experiment conducted in 2010.
“Our results suggest,” the team wrote, “that the Facebook social message increased turnout directly by about 60,000 voters and indirectly through social contagion by another 280,000 voters, for a total of 340,000 additional votes.” This finding — remarkable and novel as it may be — is in concert with earlier research that has shown that voting is strongly influenced by social pressure, such as in this 2008 study, which found that people were significantly more likely to vote if they received mailings promising to later report neighborhood-wide who had voted and who had stayed at home (Rosen)”.