Psychology behind similar-minded political social-media posts

- If it seems like you're seeing a lot of political posts on social media, you're right.

Recently released numbers from Facebook show tens of millions of politically-themed content was posted last Friday solely related to the inauguration.

And many social media users around the Bay Area have their own stories of political debates turning "nasty" online.

San Jose realtor Holly Barr created the "Willow Glen Charm" Facebook page which now has 81,000 followers.

"Mostly they care about safety, they care about pets, and they care about food," said Barr.

 But in recent months, she discovered some of those followers also care about politics and had some not-so-charming comments when she posted the question, "Did you get out to vote?"

"And then (people commented) 'Well not everybody voted!'...We're like 'whoa whoa whoa whoa!'...I'm just saying did you vote?  Trying to be really neutral. It's really charming to vote and it got kind of nasty," said Barr.

If it seems like you're seeing a lot of political posts on social media, you're not alone.

"I try to avoid 'em usually. Usually I just delete past them because I don't want to hear everybody else's opinion. I'm tired of it," said Facebook user Jo Anne Anspach.

Facebook says during the 2016 run for the White House, 136 million people in the U.S. generated 10 billion likes, posts, comments and shares about the candidates and issues.

And last Friday, 60 million Facebook users in the U.S. generated 208 million likes, posts, comments and shares about the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

"They're just everywhere," said Facebook user Janice Krause. "Pros and cons and arguments and you do see people getting nasty with each other and there's no reason for that."

Psychology professor Thomas Plante says social media users can create an echo chamber of being friends with people of like views and says he's had friends unfollow or unfriend people because of their political leanings.

"They just can't handle or want to see the other side and so they say I'm going to defriend that person and I've see that," said Plante.

Plante also blogs for "Psychology Today" magazine and says a number of his fellow bloggers have stopped allowing comments at the end of their posts.

"Even though their posts are supposed to be evidence-based, research based (and) not supposed to be a lot of opinion. People can get so nasty that people have just stopped allowing any kind of public posts," said Plante.

The professor says it's good for social media users to read other opinions saying even if you don't agree with it, it's good to know where the other side is coming from.
 

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories