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Study: Online Social Influence Has the Strongest Effect On Voting Behavior

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-like-what-the-people-I-talk-to-like dept.

Facebook 114

sciencehabit writes "Brace yourself for a tidal wave of Facebook campaigning before November's U.S. presidential election. A study of 61 million Facebook users finds that using online social networks to urge people to vote has a much stronger effect on their voting behavior than spamming them with information via television ads or phone calls."

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For now... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319065)

That's only because a lot of people haven't yet become as adept at ignoring the adds on social media platforms as they already are on TV and print mediums. This noted effectiveness will wear off as more and more people get used to ignoring a new form of advertising.

Re:For now... (0, Troll)

Cornan (2728879) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319091)

Whoops. That was me forgetting to log in.

Online Social Influence ... (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319223)

.... is effective on the unwashed

For those who are seasoned and thick-skinned, we have developed the habit of using our brain, instead of letting others to think for us
 

Re:Online Social Influence ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319511)

.... is effective on the unwashed

For those who are seasoned and thick-skinned, we have developed the habit of using our brain...

...and the effective use of Adblock. :)

Re:Online Social Influence ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319537)

How many Slashdot sock-puppets does it take to manufacture consensus in the mind of Taco Cowboy(5327)?

Re:Online Social Influence ... (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320217)

Can we count the paid shills somehow? There has to be a statistical analysis that would separate real political opinion from paid opinion.

Re:Online Social Influence ... (4, Funny)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320337)

There is quite a simple analysis actually, based on the very simple and statistically true test:

Did a politician claim to have an opinion?

If yes: It was paid for.
If no: Now accepting offers.

Re:Online Social Influence ... (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320431)

Can we count the paid shills somehow? There has to be a statistical analysis that would separate real political opinion from paid opinion.

And what kind of a clueless wonder are you that you need to be spoonfed political opinions?

If you haven't formed one of your own, then DON'T VOTE.

Re:Online Social Influence ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319793)

If you are in the habit of using your brain, why do you not know that much of your decision making process isn't even conscious?

Re:Online Social Influence ... (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320417)

.... is effective on the unwashed

For those who are seasoned and thick-skinned, we have developed the habit of using our brain, instead of letting others to think for us

mmm .... Seasoned Thick-Skin [adoboandco.com] !

Re:Online Social Influence ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41320769)

This is a blessing in disguise. As someone who categorically refuses to waste time with Facebook, doesn't have an account, etc., I hope this means fewer BS political advertisements on television that I now won't have to put up with, since they'll be focusing on the sheeple on Facebook and ignoring me, realizing that as a person who occasionally watches TV, I am much more resistant to advertising messages than some empty headed kid on FB, which is why those ads have less impact on people like me. We can see through their BS, whereas people who, for example, waste their time tending virtual farms are more apt to believe whatever idiotic BS is thrown at them, after all, they're tending VIRTUAL FARMS THAT DON'T GROW ANY ACTUAL FSCKING FOOD!!!

So I for one, welcome political campaigns' new channelization of their message. Spam the morons, and leave me the fsck alone!

Re:Online Social Influence ... (4, Interesting)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321653)

>For those who are seasoned and thick-skinned, we have developed the habit of using our brain, instead of letting others to think for us

Yeah but you guys aren't even in the target-group for any politicians anywhere.
Politicians don't care about appealing to independent thinkers because even in a tight race there aren't enough of those around to make any real difference and trying to appeal to them means speaking intelligently which will alienate the entire REST of your voting base. You know, all those unwashed - they don't like politicians who are visibly smarter than themselves and they never vote for anything that can't fit on a bumper sticker.

It's not just for now. (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319105)

You're talking about ads, but your friend might recommend something to you, and if it's someone you know or trust you are a lot more likely to look at it. And that's something that's probably never going to change. Gossiping would go away before that would.

Re:It's not just for now. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319145)

I just heard this shit on KPBS driving home - note the caveat in the summary, voting behavior.

What it means is that more people are more likely to click buttons online and say they're gonna vote, then they're nowhere to be seen at the polls because they'd rather fuck off on Facebook all day.

Speaking of free speech, fascist "editor" scum, kindly unban my user account from posting. It's good for a fair and open democracy.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:It's not just for now. (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319887)

Hmm.....sounds to me like yet another reason not to join Facebook.....

Re:It's not just for now. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319929)

What it means is that more people are more likely to click buttons online and say they're gonna vote, then they're nowhere to be seen at the polls because they'd rather fuck off on Facebook all day.

No, they checked that in the study. Here's a more complete version from the AP [npr.org] that covers this:

Fowler and colleagues didn't just take the word of people who clicked the "I voted" button. They checked public voting records in 13 states for that election, and found about 4 percent of those who said they voted hadn't really cast ballots.

Re:It's not just for now. (3, Insightful)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320701)

Yeah, that's the version I heard when driving home.

It still seems to me to have a big flaw, namely the assumption of causation. Social networks with messages like this are a self selecting group, how do they know that those with friends who voted aren't just in more politically savvy peer groups?

Now if they would have randomly lied to people about whether or not their friends had voted I could see some determination of causation, but as it was done I think the above is at least one potential flaw.

Re:For now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319905)

People are at least as adept at ignoring ads on social media platforms as they are on web searches. Google's advertising beats Facebook's hands down. [businessinsider.com]

Re:For now... (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320399)

That's only because a lot of people haven't yet become as adept at ignoring the adds on social media platforms as they already are on TV and print mediums. This noted effectiveness will wear off as more and more people get used to ignoring a new form of advertising.

You're missing the point here, it will not be ads it'll be your "friends" (ie one of the thousands of people in your social network whom you have never met and can barely distinguish from a week dead chicken).

So your implied mad-skills at "ad" avoidance are not going to help you.

Remember in school you learned that peer-pressure is rubbish an you have better things to do with your life than care about what a bunch of lamebrained retards think?

Well Facebook is peer-pressure on super-steroids - but for some reason many many people believe there's NOTHING fundamentally wrong with it.

On the other hand, there are people who believe that the earth is flat, that nobody landed on the moon, and that Lady Gaga makes "good music".

The wrld is full of complete idiots, are you one of them?

Re:For now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41321029)

It's hard to deliver a message that no one wants to hear/see. They will keep trying to tattoo it on our brains, and we will continue to adapt and ignore them. Sadly, some of the adaptations aren't all that great.

and tomorrow (3, Insightful)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319099)

The (insert latest social/consumption trend here) influences voting behavior more than (insert declining fad here).

Re:and tomorrow (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319275)

Not to forget that there is and age related demographic at work here as well. Wrinkly old non-coloured addicted to the idiot box tend to vote a particular way especially the more fear full amongst them. Younger voters more accustomed to the internet tend to vote another way, especially the least fearful amongst them.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

Formalin (1945560) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320377)

True, but younger voters also... tend not to vote, period.

Perhaps a peer pressure can change that, but I wouldn't count on it either.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320403)

Cannabis laws are changing that double period.

Re:and tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41320993)

Just what the 99% need. More 'recreation' and money spent on junk food.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

hackula (2596247) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322675)

Yeah right. Young people would hardly bother voting on a "Kill the Young Bill". I like my generation in general, but we have to be the most apathetic in history.

Re:and tomorrow (5, Informative)

postglock (917809) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319505)

It's not even a very large effect. From TFA "People who received messages alerting them that their friends had voted were 0.39% more likely to vote than those who received messages with no social information". Get a sample group large enough (61 million users), and you'll find many things to be statistically significant.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320419)

It seems the latter is meant as a dig at statistics, but if it is you seem to be confused. The problem with statistics isn't that you can find statistical significance in large groups, quite the opposite - that's when statistics actually do work very well. The problem is that if you have a sample group SMALL enough, you're likely to have problems choosing a representative group and won't get an accurate result... Having a .39% difference is actually quite a big thing in a group of 61 million, since it will be a very accurate number, and shows a proven, actual, effect.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

postglock (917809) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320915)

It was not meant to be a dig at statistics per se, but more a critique at differentiating between statistical significance and size of the effect. What I meant to imply was that while I agree the effect was significant, the size of the effect was relatively small. Also, I'm not 100% sure what you mean. I agree that having a small sample size results in a non-accurate result (technically a non-precise result). Hence, it results in less statistical significance than large sample sizes. At least for a simple hypothesis test of a proportion, as n increases, the Z-test statistic also increases in magnitude, corresponding with a drop in the p-value.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320965)

The size of the effect was some 280000 voters that would otherwise have stayed home, according to the article. While percentually that might not be a large effect over the size of the population, it is definitely a worthwhile difference. Depending on how these people vote and what districts they are in that could potentially have an actual effect on the result of an election. (Granted, I am not very familiar with the us system for elections, but from what I understand the result in individual areas are to some degree more important than the overall percentages.)

And if you mean to critique something like that, perhaps you should consider that most people on here have no idea about the deeper workings of statistics, and try to phrase it accordingly? Because it definitely sounded entirely as if you implied that large sample groups were less accurate than small ones.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

postglock (917809) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321941)

I'm also not familiar enough with the US elections, but even so, this still seems like a minimal effect to me. Firstly, there is no partisan information gathered, merely the result that *more* people voted. (Presumably this would mean more Democrat votes, but how much? Perhaps no more than 0.1% total??) Secondly, the implication of the article (to me at least) is a more generalised view, that one can influence one's internet friends' habits. If I spent time haranguing my friends about something, I'd hope to affect more than one friend for every 250 that I harass!

As for my critique of statistical significance versus effect size, you may have a point. Perhaps I should have been more explicit, but I still stand by the sentiment. I think that "statistical significance" means something to most people that is agnostic of large sample sizes. That is, if I read that something is "statistically significant", with no more information given, I presume that it's using an "average" amount of samples. I'm not sure what your background is, but if a study does not achieve statistical significance, a common way to achieve this is by increasing the sample size. If that is the case, then it's useful to also quantify the size of the effect, in order to give context to this "significance".

But you are right. In my original comment, I meant to suggest that a large sample size could reveal a *true* difference, even if it were quite minor in the magnitude of effect. I did not mean to suggest that a large sample size could create false artefacts.

Re:and tomorrow (1)

hackula (2596247) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322713)

Get a sample group large enough (61 million users), and you'll find many things to be statistically significant.

I think you pretty much explained the goal here. Is this meant to detract from statistical methodologies? Small sample size is generally more inaccurate, not the other way around.

A tiny effect (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319711)

" a much stronger effect on their voting behavior..."

The effect quoted is a 0.39% increase in number voting. That's it-- an effect of less than half a percent.

One wonders how bad the "conventional" methods of increasing are, if an effect of 0.39% is "much stronger".

Re:A tiny effect (1)

hackula (2596247) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322743)

Half a percent is an enormous effect! Think about it. Both sides have their base in place already. Most people who have not decided already will not vote at all. Polling is inconclusive and this election could go either way. You better believe the campaigns will be fighting over the scraps, however small.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319115)

Not at all. The internet is always wrong when it comes to political choices. Ref: John Kerry was going to beat W, Hillary was going to beat Barrack, McCain was going to beat Obama.

Selection bias? (5, Funny)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319133)

Also in the news, a study of H.P. Lovecraft fans showed Cthulhu has the most impact on voting behavior

Re:Selection bias? (5, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319465)

C'thulhu 2012
Why vote for a lesser evil?

Re:Selection bias? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319693)

P'shaw!

Cthulu can't do anything without Yog Sothoth's help, that incompetent narcoleptic slimeball.

Now, Azathoth, there's a candidate I could endorse!

Re:Selection bias? (3, Funny)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319743)

Who are you going to vote for?

HASTUR!

Who are you going to vote for?

HASTUR!

Who are you going to vote for?

HASTUR! Oh shit....

Re:Selection bias? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322205)

Screw them. Vote for Nurgle.

Re:Selection bias? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319975)

Romney 2012.
Why vote for the lesser evil?

in before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319139)

tidal wave of facebook campaigning leaves everyone as jaded about social media as they are about television ads and phone calls

The internet routes around damage. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319141)

Pff. The advantage of television (To the political BSers) is that it's a one-way, unmodifiable medium where you can make a statement without being refuted.
On the internet you're closer to verification and cross-references that can counter the shallow lies.

So, who's up for making a browser addon that automatically cross-references online political ads to various fact checking sites?
Then maybe overlays a nice helpful graph or color to tell you how much BS you're being fed. ..Or just get adblock+ and opt out of it all.

Re:The internet routes around damage. (0, Troll)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319655)

So, who's up for making a browser addon that automatically cross-references online political ads to various fact checking sites?
Then maybe overlays a nice helpful graph or color to tell you how much BS you're being fed. ..Or just get adblock+ and opt out of it all.

Nice idea, but Republicans would probably ban it to prevent "voter fraud" or something.

Re:The internet routes around damage. (1)

pepty (1976012) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320063)

So, who's up for making a browser addon that automatically cross-references online political ads to various fact checking sites? Then maybe overlays a nice helpful graph or color to tell you how much BS you're being fed. ..Or just get adblock+ and opt out of it all.

Nice idea, but Republicans would probably ban it to prevent "voter fraud" or something.

RedState.com has banned citing fact checkers - unless you do it ironically.

Re:The internet routes around damage. (4, Insightful)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319959)

So, who's up for making a browser addon that automatically cross-references online political ads to various fact checking sites?

But since ad-checking sites have their agenda too, we'd need another app to cross-reference the fact checking sites to fact checking site verfication sites...

Re:The internet routes around damage. (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320449)

So, who's up for making a browser addon that automatically cross-references online political ads to various fact checking sites?

But since ad-checking sites have their agenda too, we'd need another app to cross-reference the fact checking sites to fact checking site verfication sites...

I think some roman said it best:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Re:The internet routes around damage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41322147)

Don't forget the ancient Roman method of detecting:

"Follow the money."

Nah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319195)

Really? I tend to block updates from everyone who posts a strong political opinion until about Thanksgiving, on election years.. and I use AdBlock plus.. Hit me up with that fail sign

Re:Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319977)

Is that a LAGTV reference?

As it should... (-1, Troll)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319203)

Facebook is a fucking joke, but peer-to-peer communication is not. Power to the people. Oh, and BTW, fuck every single one of you GOP and DNC fuckwads.

Power to the people.

Re:As it should... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319245)

Typical of an Alien Being to try to create civil unrest so that he can weaken our governments and take over the earth.

I'm on to you.

Re:As it should... (0)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319335)

Damn, I knew I should have chosen a different handle. From now on, think me as he whose name shall not be spoken.

Wanna have/keep a job, then STFU! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319243)

If one wishes to remain employable or retain customers for the self-employed, one must not mention political stances. However, political stances can be derived from how one lives as depicted in photos, videos. and text.

--

I'm waiting for the day when reasonable people start whispering "The white supremacists were right all along".

Another "Study" (2)

nagasrinivas (1700232) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319351)

Also this seems the article may be pushing the conclusions a bit to far. If my online "friend" votes and it motivates me to vote it doesn't necessarily translate to me voting for the guy he voted for. If there is a strong correlation between online friends and their party affiliations then it may make sense. But I think we try to keep our party preference away from friends - its easy to lose one or the other.

Re:Another "Study" (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319647)

Also this seems the article may be pushing the conclusions a bit to far. If my online "friend" votes and it motivates me to vote it doesn't necessarily translate to me voting for the guy he voted for. If there is a strong correlation between online friends and their party affiliations then it may make sense. But I think we try to keep our party preference away from friends - its easy to lose one or the other.

Well who needs research conducted on a vast group of people when you've got a personal anecdote about how you think you're motivated?

Re:Another "Study" (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319985)

I don't need the research, but I need the activity it prompts. With this and Zuckerberg's html5 rantings, perhaps my Facebook stock will go up enough that I can finally unload it.

Electoral College (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319387)

Doesn't matter anyway. In America, due to the Electoral College [wikipedia.org] , your vote doesn't and never will count. Your vote actually goes to some other guy, who then votes for you.

A result of the present functionality of the Electoral College is that the national popular vote bears no legal or factual significance on determining the outcome of the election. Since the national popular vote is irrelevant, both voters and candidates are assumed to base their campaign strategies around the existence of the Electoral College; any close race has candidates campaigning to maximize electoral votes by capturing coveted swing states, not to maximize national popular vote totals.

The United States is the only country that elects a politically powerful president via an electoral college and the only one in which a candidate can become president without having obtained the highest number of votes in the sole or final round of popular voting.
        —George C. Edwards, 2011

Ohio Republicans announce new law (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319389)

Banning the solicitation of voting on-line. Because identity blah-something-blah.

Florida Republicans will get right on it, once their senior citizens figure out what a computer is.

Re:Ohio Republicans announce new law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319477)

It's spelled "Oiho".

Re:Ohio Republicans announce new law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41322419)

Is that one of those 57 states?

What's a television ad? (3, Insightful)

gubon13 (2695335) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319411)

Seriously though, doesn't everyone have a DVR?

Re:What's a television ad? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322043)

Seriously though, doesn't everyone have a DVR?

DVR? Doesn't everyone have web access?

hmm... (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319453)

It could be that a facebook page doesn't interrupt you during dinner, or your favorite movie, or during sex.

That it doesn't use a melodramatic voice actor to sound all serious about the $TotallyEvilShit that $OtherCandidate does, and basically conflate that not voting for $EndorsedCandidate is a vote for raping babies with wood rasps.

Seriously. People are losing patience with the mud slinging. A facebook page can be ignored. It doesn't shove itself in your face. It doesn't scream. It doesn't rant. It doesn't turn the volume up 30 additional decibels to blast your brains out.

Given the substantially fewer sets of clear and present BADs being injected, is it any wonder that people would react more favorably to them?

Current TV ads are like the $PoliticalParty edit wars on Wikipedia for $CandidateHistory. Look, the ministry of truth bullshit with your truthiness gets old. Say your bit, the shut the fuck up already. If I want to know about your party or your candidate, let me do so on my own. Don't try to control my access to information. Don't try to poison that well. If you do, you expose yourself as dishonest shysters, and I will only want you to go away and stop bothering me.

I suspect many other americans feel the same way.

Grow the fuck up, grow a pair, own up, and let us make up our own damn minds.

Re:hmm... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319523)

It could be that a facebook page doesn't interrupt you during dinner, or your favorite movie, or during sex.

...You haven't met my wife, have you?

Re:hmm... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319549)

Al Bundy, 'zat you?

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319809)

"It could be that a facebook page doesn't interrupt you during dinner, or your favorite movie, or during sex."

You answer the phone at these times?

Re:hmm... (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319823)

...if the phone won't fucking quit, yes.

I have relatives that become hysterical, and forget to call my cell instead of the house phone.

Re:hmm... (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322095)

As MUCH as I agree with you, this simply isn't the case for the majority of the voting populous. Even very smart and educated people care more about whether you have a "D" or a "R" attached to your name than they care to admit. Our voting system is better than most other nations, but has major faults that it relies on the lowest common denominator and the system REWARDS candidates that can pander the best.

I have personally often thought about running a purely honest campaign where everything would be cited. The cold hard truth is the average voter doesn't care. They either like their party or they hate the opposing party. Independent voters often vote with their gut. A small percentage exists where voters like you and me actually check credentials of candidates. But for that few votes, candidates would rather pander to the masses.

My biggest problem is campaign promises. The vast majority of campaign promises made by presidential candidates cannot be fulfilled simply because they are president. For many of the reforms both Obama and Romney are proposing, they are better off running for congress. But the average American doesn't know this. The only thing the president has direct control over is foreign policy. (Yes, yes, they have a bully pulpit; but they cannot directly introduce bills, as Obama has shown with his online petition initiative.)

In short, the problem isn't our candidates; it's our populous. And since our candidates love a dumb populous, this won't be changing anytime soon.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41322557)

That it doesn't use a melodramatic voice actor to sound all serious about the $TotallyEvilShit that $OtherCandidate does, and basically conflate that not voting for $EndorsedCandidate is a vote for raping babies with wood rasps.

Apparently you don't have friends like my friends. Lots of Facebook posts are just echoes of negative campaign ads.

The Effect is Tiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319491)

The article says "0.39% more likely to vote than those who received messages with no social information" which suggests to me social information made very little difference rather than the opposite?

Re:The Effect is Tiny (3, Informative)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319639)

The article says "0.39% more likely to vote than those who received messages with no social information" which suggests to me social information made very little difference rather than the opposite?

If you keep reading you'll find it saying "That translates to an additional 282,000 votes cast, ..."

If this election is as tight as the polls are now, this is significant. Every vote counts, as we learned in 2000 in Florida.

Re:The Effect is Tiny (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320013)

So it's almost 300k votes. Most areas will not even entertain recounts until the swing is less then 5% between candidates. Less then 4/10th of 1% is not likely to swing any large seats. The popular vote only matters for senators and congressmen and mayors and state officials anyways. The presidency is won by the electoral vote and it is entirely possible that a candidate can win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote and thereby lose the entire election.

It's not a significant amount.

Re:The Effect is Tiny (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320453)

Every vote counts, as we learned in 2000 in Florida.

Chad, are you still hanging around?

Re:The Effect is Tiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41320653)

If this election is as tight as the polls are now, this is significant. Every vote counts, as we learned in 2000 in Florida.

Every vote in certain places count. It all came down to a few places in Florida when the overall popular vote was for Gore. It was the fourth election where the loser won the popular vote.

Searching for revenue (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319513)

Methinks Facebook may have found a new revenue stream.

Stronger than what? (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319515)

Are they saying that ads on social networks are more effective than other net ads and offline ads? Or that social networks, writ large, are more influential than advertisements?

Because I suspect that social networks are just a medium; the bit that's effective is the peer groups. People, in other words, are highly influence by those they choose to socialize with. Something which is true online and off.

So? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319541)

a) They asked facebook-users. Nobody with any real life is one of them.
b) Nobody pays attention to television anymore, and phone calls are just an insult.

This just in (4, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319569)

Breaking news: Facebook users find Facebook to be the most effective means of influencing them.

Film at 11

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41319883)

Right???

Online vs. offline is irrelevant (3, Interesting)

mdfst13 (664665) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319571)

The article doesn't actually describe a test of online influence vs. offline influence. What it describes is a contrast between direct appeals from friends, using pictures, and a more abstract Facebook system. In other words, they are simply saying that being told that your friends voted with a picture of said friends was more effective than a text message or no message at all. It's a reasonably robust study of what it does, but it's a long way from the grandiose claims of the title.

It's possible that they are contrasting this with other studies (that they don't mention). Unfortunately, since they don't include descriptions of those studies, we can't know if they are the equivalent of this study. Do they include the many partisan appeals to vote for a candidate? Do they adjust for the tune out effect of the partisan appeals hiding the non-partisan appeals? Do they adjust for the differences between the Facebook audience and the other audiences? For example, people with land lines tend to be older than average while Facebook users tend to be younger than average. Older people vote more reliably, so a pure get out the vote effort will tend to have less effect on them (it can't make people who already vote vote more).

All this really says is that pictures are more effective than text at arousing interest. This may simply mean that the pictures make the notice bigger and thus more likely to catch people's attention.

Tight elections + small effects = big results (2)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319615)

Quoth TFA:

People who received messages alerting them that their friends had voted were 0.39% more likely to vote than those who received messages with no social information. That translates to an additional 282,000 votes cast,

With elections being as tight as they have been in the last 15 years, and with the coming presidential election looking every bit as tight, this could be enough to make a significant difference.

Re:Tight elections + small effects = big results (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319777)

If that's the case, it makes me wonder about the potential for a write-in election campaign, like the anonymous scientology demonstrations.

If enough of the popular votes in high profile states get drowned that way, the results could be interesting, and it would be the most influential hack that a goup like thiers would ever have done.

Imagine, hacking an election, by organized voter DDoS.

Re:Tight elections + small effects = big results (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320469)

With elections being as tight as they have been in the last 15 years, and with the coming presidential election looking every bit as tight, this could be enough to make a significant difference.

Please step this way sir, the Automated Kiddie-Porn Thought Police Scanner [slashdot.org] has detected a violation and we need to make further enquiries.

Re:Tight elections + small effects = big results (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41321841)

With elections being as tight as they have been in the last 15 years, and with the coming presidential election looking every bit as tight, this could be enough to make a significant difference.

That's also pretty much what Republican voter suppression laws and 'purges' are all about. Small things making a big difference in tight races. Since effectively half this country hates the other half it might work, especially with unlimited corporate money destructively pouring into the race like floodwaters during Katrina.

If instead the American people would burn through the jamming and turn a little of that political anger they have for each other on the 1 percent who are really responsible for most of the messes we have, and pretty much all of the financial ones, we might actually get some change around here.

Alright then... (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319641)

...so in a bid to influence other voters through an online medium:

DON'T VOTE FOR A DICKHEAD!

If everyone takes notice of this we could fix the political system pretty quickly.

but (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319721)

Why do we care what affects voting habits when we have no real choice in who to vote for in the first place? Will the outcome of this falls election really have any bearing on what laws are passed, which countries we invade, what services we have or how much we're taxed? No.

Re:but (0)

turp182 (1020263) | more than 2 years ago | (#41322213)

That's why I call the two party politicians Republicrats, they are basically one and the same (using moral issues to differentiate themselves, which shouldn't be part of politics in the first place). All are pro-big business, pro-war, and pro-deficit.

I'm voting Ron Paul in 2012 (write in candidate). I know he won't win, but it's about principal. I may not agree with everything he does, but he's for the Constitution, something other politicians seem to use as toilet paper.

You burn the Constitution and nobody cares. But burn a flag and "patriotism" spouts forth.

Which is more important in the long run?

good (-1)

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Yet another venue for manipulation (1)

djlowe (41723) | more than 2 years ago | (#41319787)

Hi,

Sorry, but "social media", et al? Yet another venue for manipulation, especially Facebook.

Consider the latter: It's primary focus is social. This is by no means a bad thing: Human beings are social creatures, and Facebook is a great place for social interaction [1].

However, social interaction doesn't necessarily translate to "informed political awareness" [2].

My impression is this: Yes, the campaign managers are savvy about social networking, yes, they will use this, and, given the nature of social networking, properly manipulated? They will not only get more people to vote (a good thing, in general), but they will get more people to vote the way they want, so long as they get enough presence... if they look good to "someone" on Facebook? Well, odds are they're going to look good to that someone's friends, too, right, wrong or indifferent.

In many ways, leveraging Facebook and other social networking sites is the best way for any politician to go now: The cost to do so is next to nothing [3] and the impact is not only nation-wide, it's also self-selecting and self-perpetuating.

And, cynically? Where else are you going to find more "warm bodies" with so little effort?

Regards,

dj

Notes:

[1] Or so I've been told. I'm proud to admit that I don't have, nor ever will have, a Facebook account, nor accounts on similar services. And no, that doesn't mean that I don't have friends, it just means that I don't have any Facebook friends.

[2] Hell, I'd argue the contrary: People gathering together socially for extended periods of time tend to have similar views in most things, and so their political views will be similar and fairly immutable. So, they're self-selecting, and easily targeted and leveraged.

[3] After all, Facebook doesn't charge for an account... so, it's every politician's campaign manager's wet dream: Free, unfettered access to an enormous number of voters, who will also, potentially, recruit their friends, family, etc.? Hell, from their perspective, Facebook is an ocean, and its members are chum that willingly gather together to be eaten.

Easy Explanation (1)

Jayfield (2317990) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320035)

Facebook users tend to be young. Younger members of the electorate are more easily influenced, period. This is an oversimplification, sure, but it's likely to be the primary reason.

Voting and FaceBook? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41320101)

MORE than HALF of us HATE voting: Await the bump, and then SHORT that STOCK to 50%.

Does this make MySpace.... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320135)

...the Zoidberg of online social influence?

I could not care less (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320373)

I will NOT be "influenced".

I do not "book my face".

I am not one of the borg.

that's funny.. (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320395)

and here I was just thinking it was one of the reasons I left facebook (again...).

Or ... (1)

mister2au (1707664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41320833)

So ... 60.7 million out of the 61 million would ignore the ads ??? really impressive eh?

and this is the impressionable facebook demographic
and no indication that this could or would impact voting intentions either

This is just useless facebook marketing material !!!!

I welcome Facebook political ads... (0)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321443)

The more spent on Facebook ads, the less spent elsewhere.

Waste the time of the people who are wasting their time by using facebook in the first place.

Of course the biggest reason why I support facebook ads, is the fact I deleted my facebook account over 2 years ago.

Blocking the crap (2)

bryanp (160522) | more than 2 years ago | (#41321739)

This is the only way I'm going to get through the next couple of months without strangling some of my FB friends and acquaintances:

http://lifehacker.com/5940319/how-to-block-annoying-political-posts-on-facebook [lifehacker.com]

Short version: browser add on that lets you (among other things) filter FB to not show you posts containing words like Romney and Obama.

beats telemarketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41322125)

Anything that makes them spend less on telemarketing is FINE with me!

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