Tired of politics on Facebook and Twitter? You’re not alone

It’s hard to imagine this presidential election without Twitter or Facebook, and for some, that’s become a problem.

More than one-third of social-media users are “worn out” by the amount of political content they see on social networks, says a new study by Pew Research. What’s more, about half feel the political discussions are less respectful and civil on social media — and less likely to come to a resolution — than other places.

But: “A comparable share feels that these spaces simply mirror the broader political climate,” according to the report, which was published Tuesday.

Part of the issue is that many of us are friends with just about everyone and their grandma (in some cases, literally). More than half of Facebook users (53 percent) and 39 percent of Twitter users have a mix of political views among the people in their networks, Pew says.

Also, “many users view social media as places where people say things they would never say in person,” according to the authors of the research.

When social-media users come across posts they disagree with or find offensive, 83 percent ignore them — sort of like how you try to steer clear of that one uncle at Thanksgiving. Fifteen percent of those surveyed actually dive in and engage. And you may be familiar with this tactic: 39 percent say they have either blocked other users, or minimized what they see from certain users, because of politics.

So does talking about politics actually change anyone’s mind? Some of us may be shocked (or perhaps emboldened) to find out that the answer is yes. Twenty percent say they have changed their views about a political or social issue because of something they saw on social media. Those issues include race and race relations, gun control, gay marriage and immigration. And 17 percent say social media helped modify their views on political candidates, “in many cases indicating that social media content had changed their opinions of [presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton] for the worse,” Pew says.

Last point: 20 percent of those surveyed said they actually enjoy the political back-and-forth.

Pew’s research is based on a survey of 4,579 respondents conducted July 12 to August 8. For more about methodology and the full report, click here.


Photo: U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton. (Mary Altaffer, Chuck Burton/AP)


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