How we view and utilize technology affects everything we do, whether it’s choosing news outlets to pay attention to, or deciding on who to vote for in an election. When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. Whether discussing politics online or with friends, both groups are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a Pew Research Center study. The study was part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America to see how people get information about government and politics in three different settings: (1) the news media, (2) social media and (3) the way people talk about politics with friends and family. In all three areas, the study finds that those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other.
The study finds that consistent conservatives are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics. By contrast, the study found those with consistently liberal views are less unified in their media loyalty, they rely on a greater range of news outlets, such as NPR and the New York Times, that others use far less.
As a communications professional, a writer, an analyst, and most importantly, a voter, I am interested to see how iTrend measures the election, technology and media. There have been nearly a million tweets related to United States politics and the election over the past seven days, according to Twitter’s Election website. In Connecticut (iTrend’s offices are in Stamford), there were just under 8,500 tweets in the same period.
Undoubtedly social media and technology have changed the election process. Social media is used to discuss various candidates across all political parties and races, it’s very helpful to voters. For example, during the political conventions and the debates, live tweets were displayed in real-time on the screen so that viewers could get an idea of what others were thinking about the debate. While this may seem harmless, and even collaborative, it can really change the impact and the perception of the discussion.
A recent iTrend 7-day report of election and media highlights top keywords and a summary view shows over 1,000 people discussing the election and the media.