Facebook Boosts Voter Turnout


In a press release from the University of California San Diego, Facebook Boosts Voter Turnout, there is a description of an interesting experiment.  Do not underestimate the impact you have by liking political articles and Facebook pages on Facebook, and increasing traffic to political web sites.

In 61-million-person experiment, researchers show online social networks influence political participation, with close relationships mattering most
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Published in Nature, the massive-scale experiment confirms that peer pressure helps get out the vote – and demonstrates that online social networks can affect important real-world behavior.

“Voter turnout is incredibly important to the democratic process. Without voters, there’s no democracy,” said lead author James Fowler, UC San Diego professor of political science in the Division of Social Sciences and of medical genetics in the School of Medicine. “Our study suggests that social influence may be the best way to increase voter turnout. Just as importantly, we show that what happens online matters a lot for the ‘real world.’”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voter participation was about 53 percent of the voting-age population for the presidential election in 2008. For the Congressional election in 2010, which this study focused on, the turnout was 37 percent. The numbers are clear: Many more people in the United States could vote than do.

In the study, more than 60 million people on Facebook saw a social, non-partisan “get out the vote” message at the top of their news feeds on Nov. 2, 2010.

The message featured a reminder that “Today is Election Day”; a clickable “I Voted” button; a link to local polling places; a counter displaying how many Facebook users had already reported voting; and up to six profile pictures of users’ own Facebook friends who had reported voting.

About 600,000 people, or one percent, were randomly assigned to see a modified “informational message,” identical in all respects to the social message except for pictures of friends. An additional 600,000 served as the control group and received no Election Day message from Facebook at all.

Fowler and colleagues then compared the behavior of recipients of the social message, recipients of the informational message, and those who saw nothing.

Users who had received the social message were more likely than the others both to look for a polling place and to click on the “I Voted” button.

 


Previously, I had received the following in an email from MariaT

From the comfort of our homes, we can improve search results for Warren by visiting her links below.


                                                                                

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