Less than 10% – only 9% of adult social media users – say they often post or share things about political or social issues on social media, according to newly released results from a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted Sept. 8-13, 2020. Some 70% of social media users say they never (40%) or rarely (30%) do so.
When asked about five potential reasons for why they do not post about these topics, the top two reasons users cite are concerns that the things they post, or share will be used against them and not wanting to be attacked for their views. About a third of those who never or rarely post or share about these issues say that each statement is a major reason.
Roughly a fifth of those who never or rarely post about these issues say that among major reasons for this are not having anything to add to the conversation, not paying close attention to political or social issues, or not wanting to offend others.
Answers to these questions – asked of Americans last fall as the 2020 presidential election approached – vary by political party and ideology. Among social media users, Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party say they post about political or social issues less frequently – 74% say they never or rarely do so – compared with a smaller share (66%) of Democrats and Democratic leaners who say the same. Some 44% of Republican social media users and 36% of Democratic social media users say they never do this.
The newly released results also reflect a pattern seen in other Center explorations of political posts on social media and other political activities such as voting and activism. Those toward the center of the ideological spectrum (that is, self-described conservative or moderate Democrats, and liberal or moderate Republicans) are more likely to be reluctant about engaging on social media than those at the edges of the spectrum (liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans).
Among social media users, Republicans who identify as moderate or liberal are 15 percentage points more likely than conservative Republicans to say they never or rarely post or share about political or social issues (83% vs. 68%). Similarly, roughly eight-in-ten conservative or moderate Democrats who use social media (77%) say they never or rarely post this type of content, compared with a smaller share of liberal Democrats (56%).
These new results are consistent with other Pew Research Center findings about the relatively modest prevalence of political posts on social media. For example, a Center analysis of tweets posted by U.S. adults with public accounts from June 2018-June 2019 found that only 13% of tweets mentioned national politics. Just 6% of these users were classified as “prolific political tweeters” (posting at least 10 tweets during that period, with at least a quarter of those tweets being about national politics). This pattern is not just specific to politics: A 2020 analysis found that a minority of users produce the vast majority of tweets more generally. Still, in a separate study during the recent election season, 55% of Americans said they were worn out by political posts on social media, with Republicans more likely to say this than Democrats.
There are also numerous ways social media users can be politically or socially active on social media, and these can vary based on current events. Some 14% of U.S. adults reported they had used a hashtag related to a political or social issue in the past year when asked about these issues in a 2018 survey, and 18% had changed their profile picture to show support for a cause in that same time frame. In a June 2020 survey conducted in the wake of global protests against racial injustice, roughly one-in-five social media users (18%) said they had used such a hashtag in the past month, while about a third (36%) had posted a picture to show their support for a cause.
Several potential reasons for not posting or sharing content about political or social issues are cited as major ones by similar shares of Democrats and Republicans in the new survey.
Mirriam-Webster Auctioning ‘NFT’ Definition for Charity
Non-Fungible Tokens – or NFTs – that are all the rage in the blockchain universe has officially been added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. But the publisher and language authority took the moment in blockchain history a step further by offering up the animated NFT of its definition for auction.
Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told “Good Morning America” that while he’s come to know NFTs through the world of fine arts and memorabilia, “there’s really nothing I’ve seen that compares with the specificity of this one, which is to say it is literally the definition of the activity, the endeavor, the archive and the minted product.”
The proceeds of the auction will go to Teach for All, a network of organizations in 60 countries that incorporates Teach for America and ensures education opportunities for children, which he said “was the perfect charity to benefit from this.”
Here is how the official definition will read in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Non-fungible token (NFT): Noun \ ˌnän-ˈfǝn-jǝ-bǝl- \ : a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership of a specific digital asset (such as the original version of an online photo or video).
Milkshake Mic: IHOP Makes Up for Adam Sandler Mishap
IHOP is hoping to make amends with Adam Sandler after an unwitting hostess turned away the comedian at a Long Island restaurant.
The IHOP employee, not realizing she was talking to Adam Sandler, told the actor that the restaurant was busy, and it’d be a long wait to be seated. Sandler politely left the restaurant.
The mishap went viral on TikTok, which prompted a response from Sandler on Twitter joking that he only left the IHOP because the “nice woman told me the all-you-can-eat deal didn’t apply to the milkshakes.”
IHOP made it up to Sandler by declaring last Monday “Milkshake Monday.” Customers could go to any of the restaurant chain’s 19 locations across Long Island, pay $6.49, and get all-you-can-drink milkshakes.
IHOP is also donating $1 of each milkshake sold (up to $50,000) at its roughly 1,600 locations across the U.S. to Comedy Gives Back, a charity for struggling comedians that lost income because of the pandemic.
Now that’s a sweet PR move!
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