Readers were asked whether social media could sway their vote/opinion in elections. In an unscientific Internet poll on the Right Now blog 78 percent said no, with the most cited reason being "most comments/commentary is one-sided chatter."
Here is a sampling of reader viewpoints:
"Probably not on national stuff, because I already have my opinions formed -- the interaction on FB is more about either venting or about making one's choice not look bad to others ... But on local things, it might make a difference, because there are fewer sources of info -- and if somebody who knows shared new information, I could see forming new opinions."
-- Jennifer Ewert Gieser, Facebook
"For me, no. But I consider myself someone who pays close attention to politics. I wonder about low-information voters, and I don't mean the term pejoratively. I'm talking about those who for whatever reason don't pay as much attention, but will end up casting a ballot. If you don't already have a favorite, what information might tip the scales? It certainly could be a random bit of information, delivered by someone you regard as intelligent or trustworthy."
-- Joe Kachelski, Facebook
"I think that if you are one of the "undecided" voters (and honestly, who are these people at this point?), I guess anything could swing it for you"
-- Sarah Firisen, Facebook
"I'm already decided but it reinforces my decision and I will share the information with people I know as well. I already RT'ed it but I will make sure my BF is aware because he's a little more on the fence."
-- Jennifer Hernandez, Facebook
"... On the other hand if you are closed to all opinions that you read or encounter, what does that say about your own decision making and thought process? Your decision is made before the question is asked?"
-- Ann, Right Now blog
"I think it helps reinforce what people already believe about what is important. For me two of the most important issues facing the world are education and the environment, so when candidates address these issues intelligently I am influenced by them."
-- Ann Lamb, Facebook
"@518now I say it's a starting point. Find out what they're saying, then go and do actual research, something many people don't do."
-- @4BIGK75, Twitter
"yes and no. could make one search beyond what they currently know."
-- Elisa Zazzera, Facebook
"Of course, the provenance of the info will make a difference. If I read the Drudge Report tweet that Obama has employed slave labor, I might look at it with several pounds of salt."
-- Roger Green, Facebook
"Nothing on social media, we read as many sources as we can and verify info by actual actions of candidates."
-- Robert Rudolph, Facebook
"My experience pretty much reinforces the idea of social media as an echo chamber. 97% of my FB friends favor Obama. Every now and then, I have a polite conversation with someone from the other three percent, but I'm pretty sure that changes neither of our positions."
-- Jonathan M. Storm,
"I think without the dialog back & forth in black & white is not strong enough to sway my vote. Sometimes words can be misconstrued because you can't hear the tone. You can't believe everything you read but I think I have a pretty good judge of character."
-- Kathy Blair, Facebook
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