Online political discussion on SNS

The social networking population as a whole has grown larger and these platforms are now utilized by politically active individuals of all ages and ideologies to get news, connect with others, and offer their thoughts on the issues that are important to them. While many traditional newspaper publishing companies are losing their clients to the internet, social websites such as Facebook are capturing new members every second. It appears that such websites are becoming the most effective means of distributing private or public information. Citizens can express their political opinions by being supporters of different political parties or presidents on Facebook pages and also discuss actively their point of view on political events.In the study, “Getting political on social network sites: Exploring online political discourse on Facebook”, it shows that the social networking sites are better for active place for online political discussion since they allow various point of view including opposing views than other computer-mediated discussion.

This study explores use of the social network site Facebook for online political discussion. Online political discussion has been criticized for isolating disagreeing persons from engaging in discussion and for having an atmosphere of uncivil behavior. Analysis reveals the participation of disagreeing parties within a discussion, with the large majority of posters (73 percent) expressing support for the stated position of the Facebook group, and a minority of posters (17 percent) expressing opposition to the position of the group. Despite the presence of uncivil discussion posting within the Facebook group, the large majority of discussion participation (75 percent) is devoid of flaming. Results of this study provide important groundwork and raise new questions for study of online political discussion as it occurs in the emergent Internet technologies of social network sites.


Kushin, Matthew J. and Kitchener, Kelin. (2009, Nov 2). “Getting political on social network sites: Exploring online political discourse on Facebook”. First Monday, Volume 14, Number 11,  2 November 2009.


Posted on August 8, 2011, in Discussion Leader. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I think that Facebook has made people more involved in political discussion just because it’s a part of integrating something I may not pay as close attention to (politics) into my everyday life. For example, during the past presidential elections I didn’t really take time to go on other websites to learn about the candidates. However, some of my friends would share links to articles and express their opinions on their Facebook and I would check out what they were looking at and what they thought. Then when I viewed the info they posted, it led me to do my own research and find out more on the topic they posted about. However, I definitely didn’t use Facebook as my main source of information for the presidential elections.

  2. Social network site Facebook for political discussion, I think it helps people to explore opionins and thoughts. There are limitations when we discuss about a cadinate on his/her political website. When time comes for a elction to us I receive a lot of information through SNS like facebook. I don’t particularly go to that website to find out about the cadidates but my friends and peers share and discuss about the candidates so I get the chance to learn about them. It is more open discussion on SNS so I think that’s one of the good benefit. I also think it is a good in a way that I can recieve a lot of information from others and apply it to my own thought even I don’t agree. However, when I want to find the exact information about the candidates and politics I try to go on their websites or research to find the ‘real’ informations I want.

  3. I believe social media and online forums and message boards are a great opportunity and place for people to express political opinions they might not have otherwise. Even though we have freedom to choose our own politics we agree with… there IS still many people who don’t like to get into political debates with friends, family, or people in the public. These people might just keep their mouth shut to avoid any unpleasant “confrontations” they might fear.

    Of course not every political debate is unpleasant… but some people would rather keep to themselves in social situations where politics are discussed in person. I believe this online option can get their opinion out there and a discussion going among people who wouldn’t do so normally.

    Also, a lot of the younger generations are getting a great experiance by being able to jump onto a site somewhere and start discussions… discussions they might not get to have in the ‘real’ world as often as they would like.

    However, there could be downsides. Perhaps a person online is able to more easily filter things they don’t want to hear just because it doesn’t match with what they believe. This would make it easier to shut things out and skip over things that you might otherwise hear about and discuss in person.

  4. Very interesting study. I would have liked to attend your group. Professor Gill had mentioned the stigma of talking about politics among coworkers or even friends. It can create a heated argument and is usually never a civil conversation, especially when people feel strongly one way or another. I like that the study of people in political discussions maintains civility in an online forum. I kind of expected the opposite since you can post anything and leave yourself the ability to tune the opposing remarks out. It was a great point that you are still tied to your profile and are usually posting on friends pages. This creates a more serene groundwork to actually have a discussion. It is also a leisure framework so that a debate can happen at a time when people are calm. It eliminates the growing anger that can result in a real time conversation of opposite viewpoints. I think the study was great for the week’s related assignment. Well done!

  5. I think that social networking can have a huge effect on politics because it’s such an effective way to reach large amounts of people. Not only that, but it’s a great way to reach young people as well, which is always an important and difficult thing to accomplish. It has been interesting to watch and read what people are saying on Twitter about politics. Since it’s so easy to share information, things spread very quickly on Twitter. I definitely think social networking sites (along with blogs) have increased political discourse. People are talking more about what is going on in the world of politics. Maybe all this conversing will help us communicate about important political topics more easily in the future and will perhaps contribute to solving problems. I think it will be very interesting to see how social media sites are used in the 2012 US presidential election. They may be a key factor in deciding the outcome of the election.

  6. I think social media has a lot of power and influence. With free space to publish, many people like to take advantage. As the study showed, some used it for the best and others for the worst. However, to my surprise, I was shocked to see that only 30% of conversations were uncivil. I felt like there would be more. Social media provides a great opportunity for many voices to be heard. I think it is a good tool to share opinions and to challenge one’s own perspective. During the 2008 elections, I remember there was a lot of talk about the election on Facebook. A lot of the hype came from an exciting year. 1. It was the first election myself and any of my friends could participate 2. a black man was running for presidency 3. and a woman for vice president. I remember my Facebook being blown up with comments, slurs, videos and articles about every subject and candidate. At this time, I thought it was a great way for me to try out different sides, learn a little bit about both, and then decided. Well, after learning the hard way, I think for the next election, I will consider the voices of my peers, but also look to sources and scholars who perhaps have a first hand at the situation itself.

  7. I agree with your point of view and I believe that the media and digital technology have a power to influential political. Today President Obama also likes to post his comment and announce on the web to make the public know his decision, also the Internet has the strength to effect the political. Because people nowadays can easily share and express their opinions on the web which are directly be heard by the government. In the past we can only be the audience who mostly watch television or video to get new information and hardly had a chance to express. However, because of the web, we can interact with government and give them suggestions. Although I did not got a chance to join in your discussion group, I like your statement and Power Point.

  1. Pingback: week 8 – Monday (8 Aug 2011) « COM300: Basic Concepts of New Media

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