Obamacare, Ann Curry, and Facebook: Does Social Media Affect the Way We Think and Act?

Comments: 5

  • Your “wrench” is not quite that simple. I follow one candidate my preferred candidate on Twitter. But I get re-tweets from my followers who prefer the other candidate. I find myself spending more time reading the articles or doing a search to determine if the source is correct etc. And, indeed, I have found that I was wrong (on occasion) and had to revise my belief.

    Question: Do you think that President Obama’s “bombshell” announcement on gay marriage helped by social media?

    • This is a very good point, that we see retweets from followers who have different political beliefs than we do. But, I would argue that you are in the minority when it comes to revising your preexisting beliefs (and I think research would support me). There are a wealth of studies on the confirmation bias- a review by Raymond Nickerson, a study by Martin Jones and Robert Sugden, a study by Carolyn O’Reilly to name a few. (There’s also the backfire effect which I mention above.)
      As far as Obama’s announcement, I think social media certainly helped the reach of his message. I know my Twitter timeline was filled with commentary on Obama’s support for gay marriage and also tweets from people reacting to Obama.There’s actually an article on Mashable about how a GIF Tumblr called “When Obama Endorsed” was created minutes after Obama’s announcement and subsequently went viral.

  • Yes to those regular users and more easily influenced would certainly say would have an effect, less so with those using more traditional / old fashioned forms of communication.

  • I find that those who are shouting the loudest on twitter, are losing. This happened for the London Mayor elections recently. #sackboris hashtag was much stronger than #backboris, despite this – he did win.

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