Heart for Media Engagement researchers discovered interacting with partisan memes can result in the creation of networks with like-minded individuals, in accordance with a research printed in early June.
Often known as homophilous networks, these teams are stuffed with customers who work together with individuals who share related ideologies greater than they work together with individuals of opposing ideologies, in accordance with the research.
“It’s actually vital that we contemplate these issues that we don’t consider as containing political data, however they’re definitely speaking attitudes and beliefs about politics that might have some affect on individuals,” mentioned Jessica Collier, a former postdoctoral fellow on the Heart for Media Engagement.
By way of partisan data, individuals are likely to react extra strongly to partisan memes, similar to responding with a “love” or “haha” versus information, which tends to get extra “like” reactions, in accordance with the research. Nevertheless, individuals do reply equally to information and memes when it comes to sharing, commenting and blocking.
“Folks seeing counter-attitudinal memes usually tend to block the meme sharers than these seeing pro-attitudinal memes, thus growing the homogeneity of on-line networks,” in accordance with the research.
In pretests, scientists examined a number of methods to cease the creation of homophilous networks, similar to including one other sort of Fb response, in accordance with lead researcher Yujin Kim.
Whereas different options didn’t produce outcomes, Kim mentioned reminding contributors of their various Fb buddy networks confirmed some promise. The research primed contributors by asking them in regards to the totally different areas of their lives their Fb connections got here from, which helped in some conditions, though this resolution obtained blended outcomes.
“The concept is known as context collapse, the place social media is that this place the place you may have all of those contexts out of your life that instantly collapse into one the place you’re sharing data with all of these individuals,“ Collier mentioned. “I believe extra (analysis) is required to grasp (how that setting impacts) the best way that we share data.”
Collier mentioned being uncovered to an opposing viewpoint is usually a good factor, however Kim pointed to its potential destructive results as properly.
“Ideally, individuals can have entry to extra various level of views, however it additionally has some backlash impact, like when individuals see the counter-attitudinal, or non-like minded contents, they really can (polarize extra),” Kim mentioned. “Simply exposing the totally different viewpoint doesn’t all the time work.”
Collier mentioned these findings might probably translate to different platforms.
“If you’re finding out social media, it’s this fixed query of what new platform is (going to) overtake individuals within the second that you just’re attempting to review one other one,” Collier mentioned. “Luckily, memes switch throughout platforms, so I believe the findings most likely do as properly.”