A portion of social networking site users say the sites are important for some of their political activities and the way they decide how to engage with campaigns and issues. At the same time, most users of the sites say they do not use the sites for political purposes or debates.
A nationally representative phone survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that:
- 36% of social networking site (SNS) users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in keeping up with political news.
- 26% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in recruiting people to get involved in political issues that matter to them.
- 25% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them for debating or discussing political issues with others.
- 25% of SNS users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in finding other people who share their views about important political issues.
In each activity, Democrats who use social networking sites are more likely than Republicans or independents to say the sites are important.
About the Survey
These are the findings from a survey conducted from January 20-February 19, 2012 among 2,253 adults ages 18 and older, including 901 cell phone interviews. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. And the margin of error of the sample dealing with social network site users (n=1,407) is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.