This year, 2016, has been pivotal. It marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We lost Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Prince. The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in more than a century. The event foremost in everyone’s mind, however, is the presidential election.
Life offers a few constants. Death and taxes are among the things that are always certain. In most cases, so are intense, emotional internet arguments about politics. However, 2016 may go down in history for another reason: It was the year everyone became too exhausted to argue online.
Candidates We’ll Never Forget
Many people claim this year’s presidential candidates are the worst in our country’s history. Some people argue for their chosen candidate until they’re blue in the face, and others simply wish there were more options. What’s worse, both candidates have very strong opinions about sensitive topics like abortion and immigration. Everyone is quick to argue his or her personal beliefs and talk about which nominee best lines up with those convictions.
We’re All Burnt Out
The Pew Research Center just completed a study with some surprising results. According to its findings, 37% of social media users feel “worn out” by the political posts on their feeds. More than one-third are simply tired of the arguing, regardless of whom they plan to vote for (if they plan to vote at all).
The same study also showed that politics is distressing in general. Sixty percent of participants don’t like to discuss politics with others when they have different viewpoints, finding the act “stressful and frustrating.” Perhaps this is because no amount of internet yelling has ever changed someone’s mind.
Another result illustrates the political rift that’s opened up across our country – 64% of respondents indicated they had less in common with their friends, politically, than they had previously thought.
How We’re Coping With Election Arguments
The overwhelming majority of us take the easy route: We ignore political posts. Pew’s research showed that 83% of respondents gloss past the posts they don’t agree with. Another 40% admitted to actively unfollowing friends when they post too much political content or information that is highly controversial.
To put it simply, we don’t want to see it – and we won’t. So if you notice dwindling followers or fewer interactions from friends, you may want to consider that your opinion isn’t doing anything but harming your online presence.