Commentary

Social Media Users Exhausted By Political Content

If you’re feeling exhausted, discouraged and demoralized by this year’s trial by ordeal presidential election, you’re not alone.

Social media seems to be amplifying some of the worst aspects of this historic disgrace. In fact, as the collective nightmare reaches its climax, over one-third of Americans say they are sick of political content on social media, according to a new survey of over 4,500 adults by Pew Research Center.

Overall, 37% of respondents said they are “worn out” by political discourse on social media, compared to 20% who said they actually enjoy this miserable carnival of horrors. Further, 59% of respondents said they find their political disagreements with other people on social media “stressful and frustrating.”

Also, 64% said political disagreements make them realize they have less in common with these contacts than they previously thought.

It’s not simply a matter of social media reflecting offline acrimony, as 40% of respondents think people say things on social media they would never say face-to-face, while 49% feel political debate on social media is angrier; 53% feel it’s less respectful.

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In a sign of how widespread this phenomenon is, a majority of social media users said they are taking steps to mitigate the amount of stress they experience as a result of these online encounters: 83% of respondents avoid looking at posts from friends with whom they disagree on political issues, and 39% said they have blocked, unfriended someone, or changed their social media settings to reduce their exposure to this content.

On the positive side, at least our national shame is bipartisan. As we circle the drain, 38% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans said they are sick of the debacle that is our national discourse.

On a closing note, I’d like to point out that in Britain, which has been doing this whole representative government for quite some time, elections and the formation of a new Parliament only take about four weeks. Just sayin’.

1 comment about "Social Media Users Exhausted By Political Content".
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  1. Meredith Obendorfer from DKC, October 26, 2016 at 6:38 p.m.

    Bet you never thought you'd be able to work "miserable carnival of horrors" into an article, Erik. Well done.

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