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Political material on social sites sparks unfriendly feelings

Research shows that many social media users have unfriended an acquaintance or even family member for excessive or unwanted political postings.
BY ADAM RAY, For The Oklahoman Published: November 5, 2012

With the advent of social media networking sites, the last election season in 2008 was the first to see widespread exchange of political ideas on social networks among friends and acquaintances. This year is proving to outdo the previous election season in frequency of political posting.

A survey by the Pew Research Center posed a series of questions about people's general use of social network websites for politics and about the ways they interact with friends over political material.

The survey reveals the top reasons for “unfriending” are due to political postings. According to the study, 10 percent of social network users have unfriended someone for posting too often about political subjects. Other reported reasons for unfriending included disagreeing with a friend or arguing about a political topic on social media.

The study also followed the relationships between the users and those blocked. Thirty-one percent of those blocked for politics were personal friends, 21 percent were co-workers, and 18 percent were members of the user's own family.

Business relationships are also affected by unwanted political posting. In “The Power of Popularity: An Empirical Study of Fan Counts and Consumer Brand Stock Prices” author and businessman Arthur J. O'Connor reports on research that followed 30 companies' social media activity for a year. The author states that 99.95 percent of the companies' stock prices directly correlated with their Facebook “likes” that day or in that period.

Scan the code for an infographic representing the research.


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