People using Facebook and Twitter keep their opinions to themselves–can you believe it? A study out from the Pew Research Center says that while 86% of people would be willing to discuss their political views at work or with friends IRL (that’s Facebook for “In Real Life”), only 42% of social media users will post their opinions. And the more often someone used a social media tool like Twitter or Facebook the less likely they are to share their candid thinking online. Probably because the more you’re on there, the more you see what happens when people do venture into hot button issues–it ain’t pretty. The Pew study is called Social Media and the “Spiral of Silence.”
The research also points out the fact the users’ Facebook and Twitter networks aren’t networks of like-minded people the way their real life networks tend to be. If you have a few thousand friends on Facebook, it’s very unlikely that they all share your opinions. Whereas at a neighborhood dinner party you’re likely to encounter more like-minded people.