Study: Social Media Statuses Saying Everyone’s Voice Matters At High Risk Of Being Ignored By Everyone
(Originally posted on November 4, 2014.)
Eugene, Ore. — A study released just in time for election season shows conclusive evidence that social media status updates ardently arguing for the significance of every person’s vote, or “voice,” is at an extraordinarily high risk of being disregarded by everyone scrolling through the news feed.
Study leader and psychology professor Maria Montoya stated that the majority of the study’s data came from Facebook, although such sources as Twitter and Reddit were also integral.
“We looked at the patterns of status updates and saw that politically charged statuses reminding people to vote under the persuasion that their voice actually matters were widely ignored…by everyone,” Montoya said. “There was this one status that referenced the dissolving of the ‘American Dream’ as a result of people who don’t use their right to vote, and it was ‘liked’ by that person’s mother and also some random guy, but we have suspicion that they didn’t actually read it, because no one else did. The status didn’t reach anyone but those two people.”
Montoya stated that, according to the data, the most frequently ignored status is that which says people have no right to complain if they do not vote.
“Judging from over 100,000 statuses, the ones that argue you have no right to complain if you don’t vote reached absolutely no one about 98% of the time, as judged by Facebook and Twitter’s tracking of a reached audience, and the fact that no one commented on any Reddit feed like that,” Montoya said. “We theorize this stems from the fact that most people go onto social media to complain, or to show off their selfies.”
Several experts support the study’s conclusion, including world-renowned Harvard sociology professor Mike Irwin.
“People are already aware of the ‘American Dream’ — you work hard and make millions, and then you can have a voice,” Irwin said. “Well, people are on social media normally to divert themselves from their lack of success and consequential voicelessness by garnering approval on cute social aesthetics like pictures of cats or weird faces that say, ‘Hey, I’m useless, but that’s okay.’”
One Eugene politician remains in the minority for statuses about people’s voice mattering, however, as his statuses on Facebook and Twitter, and his Reddit feed question said, “Genetically Modified Objects are women, right?” and received over 200 “likes,” 1,000 retweets, and over thousands of mixed comments on all three of those platforms. According to Montoya, a flurry of response videos on YouTube and Vimeo, as well as memes on Tumblr are to be expected within the hour.