The use of social media is a major feature of political engagement for many Americans. 60% of American adults use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.
A survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that 66% of those social media users—or 39% of all American adults—have done at least one of eight political activities with social media.
Here are the key findings of the survey:
38% of users “like” or promote material related to politics or social issues that others have posted.
Although Liberal Democrats are particularly likely to use the ‘like’ button (52%), 42% of conservative Republicans have also done so.
35% of users have used the tools to encourage people to vote.
Democrat users are more likely to have used social media to encourage voting at 42% However, a close 36% of Republican users and 31% of independents have also done so.
34% of users have used the tools to post their own thoughts or comments on political and social issues.
Liberal Democrat users (42%) and conservative Republicans (41%) are especially likely to use social media this way.
33% of users have used the tools to repost content related to political or social issues that was originally posted by someone else.
Although Republican users are more likely to do this at 39%, 34% of social media using Democrats and 31% of independents also do so.
31% of users have used the tools to encourage other people to take action on a political or social issue that is important to them.
Some 36% of social-media-using Democrats have done this… As have 34% of Republicans. This compares to 29% of independents who are social media users.
28% of users have used the tools to post links to political stories or articles for others to read.
The users who are liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are the most likely to have used social media this way (39% and 34% respectively).
21% of users belong to a group on a social networking site that is involved in political or social issues, or that is working to advance a cause.
Therefore, there are no major differences by ideology or partisanship when it comes to using social media this way.
20% of social media users have used the tools to follow elected officials and candidates for office.
32% of the conservative Republicans who use social media follow officials on social media. 27% of liberal Democrats who use social media do so, too.
Source: PEW Research Center