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News on social media suffers a ‘spiral of silence’: Pew study

What gets us chatting—or shutting up—about the news?

News on social media suffers a 'spiral of silence': Pew study : Columbia Journalism Review

If social media users think their followers don’t share their opinion on the news, they are less likely to post those views on Facebook and Twitter, according to a new Pew Research Center report, released today. It showed Facebook and Twitter users posted less about Edward Snowden and his revelations of government surveillance if they felt their networks would disagree with their viewpoints, and were nearly twice as likely to share on Facebook if they felt their network agreed with them.

The authors connect these findings to the ‘spiral of silence,’ a phenomenon where people who think they hold a minority opinion don’t speak up for fear of social exclusion. “One of the possible theories [for this study] is that when people see diversity in opinion, they don’t want to challenge other people, or upset them, or risk losing a friendship,” said Keith Hampton of Rutgers University, one of the study’s authors, in a telephone interview. For the authors, the study implies that the long-documented suppression of minority opinion exists online just as in real life.

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I don't like using social media for politics, and rarely use it to share news. 

I like sharing evergreen things that will still be interesting a year from now. 

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