Voters are less than a day away from hitting the polls in hopes of voting in a new president or giving the current one another four-year term. But chances are, they've already influenced the outcome—whether they meant to or not.
According to a Pew Research Center study, 66 percent of social media users—or 39 percent of all American adults—have done at least one of eight civic or political activities with social media.
Those activities include things such as posting one's thoughts about issues, posting links to political material, encouraging others to take political action, following elected officials on social media and liking or promoting political material others have posted.
If you've logged onto your own Facebook page, you already know what we're talking about.
On the Mehlville-Oakville Patch Facebook page, Patchers from both sides of the aisle say they agree on one thing: They can't wait for the election—and the social media posts that have come with it—to stop.
"It's just blah, blah blah to me!" said Laura Bryant-Muehlhauser.
Sarah Palmer Waszkon agreed, adding, "All the posts cause me to do is pare down my firend and 'like' list."
Maggie Madonia said she already voted by absentee ballot a week ago, so the posts building up right before the election can't have an effect on her.
"I wish the 'noise' would be behind me now," Madonia said on Facebook. "I have several Facebook friends hidden during this time. We all have opinions. I hate the disrespect (from both sides)."
Politics is "one of the most polarizing topics discussed on Facebook, Roc Schott of social media marketing agency Spring Creek Group told USA Today.
Social media uers' ability to post updates or funny photos at a moment's notice is part of the reason sites such as Facebook and Twitter will play an unpresedented role in this year's presidential election.
Here's some more findings from a different Pew study:
- 38 percent of social network users discovered through a friend's post that their polticial beliefs were different from what the user thought
- 36 percent of users say social network sites are "very important" or somewhat important" for keeping up with political news
- 16 percent say "some," "most" or "all" of their recent postings were about politics
- Another 16 percent say they've changed their views about a political issued after disucssing it or reading about it on a social network
- 47 percent have hit the "like" button in response to political comments or material posted by someone else
- 38 percent have posted positive comments in response to a political post or status udate from someone else
What's your take on politics and social media? Are posts from friends, family and coworkers important in shaping your political beliefs? Or are your friends' snarky memes about a political candidate clogging up your feed?