Political chatter on social media is stressful and frustrating, new study finds

social media politics study trump  clinton
With the majority of Americans discovering news through social media, a particular topic and point of discussion is causing much concern and frustration online. More than one-third of social media users are “worn out” by the amount of political content they encounter, claims a new survey courtesy of the Pew Research Center.

In regards to political debates, instead of providing an enlightening forum for debate, 59 percent of participants describe their social media interactions as “stressful and frustrating.”

Released on Tuesday, the report comes in the midst of a noisy election news cycle, with political chatter at its peak on social media. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have also engaged users with live-streams of the debates and acted as forums from which questions were generated for the presidential candidates. These same sites are also encouraging political activity, with features that let you endorse candidates, and voter registration drives — in the hopes that they will result in increased user engagement.

However, the specter of online harassment and abuse continues to haunt services such as Twitter, and can be sparked by outspoken political sentiments. This is reflected in the study, with around half of social media users claiming political conversations online are angrier and less respectful than those in real life. The majority of the study’s participants (64 percent) say their online encounters with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum leave them feeling as if they have less in common than they thought.

This negative view of political content on social media is shared by people from across the political divide, and is almost identical for users who identified themselves as Democrats (38 percent) or Republican (37 percent).

Despite their frustrations regarding the tone of political conversations on social media, some users still believe these same platforms can encourage positive engagement with politics. Eight in 10 users said social media can help people get involved with political issues that matter to them. Additionally, a similar number feel that social media has helped bring new voices into the political discussion.

“Some politically active users enjoy the heated discussions and opportunities for engagement that this mix of social media and politics facilitates,” write lead researchers Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smith. “But a larger share expresses annoyance and aggravation at the tone and content of the political interactions they witness on these platforms.”

The report, titled “Political Environment on Social Media,” drew its data from 4,579 American adults, and was conducted from July 12 to August 8.

Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Marshawn Lynch, Netflix streaming data, and more

The NES and SNES Classic Editions may be being discontinued, but new streaming data from Netflix has been released, and we sat down with Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch on Thursday's episode of Digital Trends Live.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Social Media

GIF almost anywhere with Giphy’s new keyboard and sticker maker

We all love GIFs, but not every app supports them. Fortunately, the new Giphy' keyboard brings GIFs to any iOS app that supports multimedia. The update also comes with a new tool for creating animated stickers.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.