Social media’s influence on your thoughts & views

Social media’s influence on your thoughts & views 

Bottom Line: The myth of talk radio, especially right leaning talk radio, over the past 30+ years – is that the only people who listen are those who already agree with the hosts. While that’s true much of the time, a small peek in my email will show you that’s not entirely the case. Some people like to hear “the other side”. Some like to be challenged in their thoughts. Some aren’t ideologically inclined and are simply looking for information from people they like to listen to. The reason that so much money and effort has been spent by organizations like Media Matters, designed to attempt to take out voices they don’t agree with, is the influence the format and its best hosts have had in opening the minds of people who didn’t originally agree with them. Think about it...if the only people listening were those who already agreed with the hosts – why would there be so many people trying to stop it? Social media is a different version of a similar thing.  

By now we’re all well aware of the Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook users, Facebook’s multiple newsfeed failures and other related social media scandals including Twitter’s alleged “Shadow Banning”. Aside from the potential for your personal info being used for purposes you never intended, some have wondered how much any of this really matters. A couple of years ago we saw that over 50% of voters said they’d used social media for at least some of their news. That showed the potential impact of what we’re talking about. A couple of years later, as we’re about to enter crunch time for the midterms, we have new info showing that social media still matters when one’s formulating an opinion.  

The Pew Research Center wrapped up a recent study on Social media influence and found... 

  • 14% of all adults have changed views on a political or social issue due to social media 

It’s pretty evenly split as well with 15% of men saying they’d changed their views along with 13% of women. Probably not surprising is that the younger a user is, the more likely they were to be influenced by social media. Only 6% of adults over 65 have changed their views due to social media but that jumps to 23% for adults under 30. Maybe it’s you, maybe it isn’t but social media still matters when it comes to politics and that’s why scandals like Twitter’s alleged Shadow Banning are highly relevant and could prove to be 2018’s version of a Cambridge Analytica like conspiracy.  



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