In the midst of one of the most hotly contested election seasons the United States has ever seen, your Facebook newsfeed is probably blowing up. From those quick NowThis videos on widely debated issues to hilarious (or disturbing) memes about the current candidates, Facebook has got it all. But it’s not just outside sources that are causing the political traffic jam in your newsfeed — it’s your friends’ lengthy political rants.
Many of us are guilty of posting them, while many of us try adamantly to avoid them, but either way it begs one question: How much influence do these political posts have on their readers? Well according to a recent study done by Rantic, not much.
According to this new study, 94 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independents on Facebook say they have never been swayed by a political post. Well, to all of you passionate Facebook ranters, that may seem a little disappointing. But look at it another way. Fifteen percent of independents have changed their minds on a political issue due to a Facebook friend’s post. That’s pretty substantial. And often, it’s the independents that end up swaying the national election, so maybe you are making a difference after all.
In the end, I believe that no real harm can come from posting a (well-researched, slander-free, coherent) political Facebook post. If anything, it brings an issue to the forefront of peoples’ minds, whether they agree with it or not. And to me, that’s awesome. So although the study also found that 18 percent of Democrats, 12 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of independents have unfriended someone on Facebook after disagreeing with their political post, isn’t it more important to get people thinking about important issues than to save that online friend that you haven’t actually spoken to in years? I’d sure say so. So go on and rant away. Spill your political candor all over that Facebook page. Who knows, maybe you’ll defy the statistics and end up changing someone’s mind.