In an era when Americans have made a big retreat to their political corner on social media, there is a tendency to share more political content on platforms that they believe have the same idea. Not surprising.
But one finding in a new study in the United States Social media A habit that surprised a pair of researchers at the University of Kansas: Black Instagram users tend to share more political content on the platform than non-black users.
“What would they think if I posted this? Risks and returns of political expression across the platform” was published in the journal on November 12th. Social media + society, This study was co-authored by Cameron Piercy, KU Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, and Elnaz Parviz, a PhD candidate for Communication Studies. They looked at nationally representative data collected by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in the summer of 2016 while voters were preparing for the U.S. presidential election, and Parviz for Piercy’s network analysis class. I expanded the paper I wrote in.
“The driving question is,” What about the people in your society? media Does the network affect what you are trying to post online? “Piercy said. In network research, you always have to worry about homogeneity. And, surprisingly, some studies have shown that people who have foreign social media, that is, people who have different ideas within the network, are actually more likely to post political stuff. I have. “It doesn’t seem logical,” we thought. So I tried to track it using this Pew dataset. “
“Half of the participants have changed their privacy settings. If they do, they can now speak their opinion about politics. Plus, users are online, regardless of platform,” said Piercy and Parbiz. Face-to-face, they were less likely to post about politics if they considered the discussion less civil. “
According to their analysis, most people speculate on the political beliefs of Facebook’s friends. This is not the case for Twitter users and not for Instagram users.
“On Facebook, 6% of people don’t know the political tendencies of their friends,” Piercy said. “On Twitter, 26.9% say they don’t know, so it’s about a quarter, but on Instagram, almost half say they don’t know the political tendencies of their friends.”
Perhaps Piercy speculates that due to the photo-centric nature of the platform, users are uncertain about the political trends of connections on Instagram compared to other major social media. But that doesn’t explain why black Instagram users who understand the political trends in their connections are so happy to share political posts on the platform.
“I don’t think we can deny that something is happening here,” Piercy said. “The effect is too great compared to all the other effects we see in our study. In fact, black Americans are more likely to engage in political expression on Instagram. I’m confident about it. I have.”
“Political expression” may not necessarily belong to Democrats vs. Republicans, Piercy said of the study. Posts like this could be problem-oriented, such as posts advocating the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
To some extent, Pearcy said he and Palbiz were able to answer the “what” question from Pew’s data. They wrote that further research is needed on “why.”
“I think it makes sense, based on the affordances of various social media,” Piercy said. “What you can do with Facebook is different from Twitter and Instagram. So, starting with that assumption, people’s behavior and sharing on Instagram, and the way blacks do it, are different. People share about political issues. The reasons and methods are different. Someone needs to dig deeper into it and compare content posted by white-Americans, black-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans. ”
Elnaz Parviz et al, what do they think if I post this? Risks and returns of political expression across the platform, Social media + society (2021). DOI: 10.1177 / 20563051211055439
University of Kansas
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Political Posting Trends of Black Instagram Users
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