Political Discussions On Social Networking Sites

Political discussions on social networking sites range from writing on candidates' walls to specific spaces reserved for debate. Friends of presidential candidates post on the candidates' walls, issuing messages of support and criticism. MySpace has created an Impact Channel for the 2008 presidential election, allowing people to discuss the campaigns by posting on the wall.[1] ABC News and Facebook partnered up to provide coverage for the 2008 presidential debates. Facebook users were able to provide their opinions of the debates and the candidates on a forum called the "Soundboard." The response was overwhelming, with 35,000 posts published in three hours.[2] Polls also played an important role during the debates, as over 100,000 Facebook users answered a variety of questions.[2] The large amount of discussion indicates that people are eager to voice their opinions in a public forum. Indeed, social networking sites offer a new way for people to increase their political involvement. However, the increased participation may come at a cost. With so many people participating at once, it can be difficult to keep track of the conversation; many opinions and ideas may simply become lost in cyberspace. Still, feedback for these forms of political discussion have generally been positive. Some people participating on the Soundboard were so engrossed in the discussion that they ignored the actual presidential debates.[2] Social networking sites have proven to be a popular medium to discuss political views.

1. MySpace: Decision 08. http://www.myspace.com/decision08
2. Broache, Anne. "Information Overload in the Facebook-ABC Presidential Debates?" CNET News.com. 2008. http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9841291-7.html
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