Facebook Politics

I wonder if this is indicative of anything.

A while back I used an app that scanned my friends and put them into political categories. I assume that if my friend said “Republican” or “conservative” or “righty” or “right-wing” (some people did put this!) it would put them in the same pot, and the same for the left. The final results were something to the effect of 57% Republican and 43% Democratic (There was another result that included independents and libertarians, but Republicans were the plurality at 40% on that one). This was not a surprise because of where I come from and the politics of that region.

And yet, going through my Facebook feed, of the political post, at least 80% and it seems like more than 90% are from a liberal or Democratic orientation. A good portion of that are coming from the same people, but there are at least 5 or 6 people* batting around liberalish stuff versus only two irregular conservative folks doing the same.

It’s possible that the feed’s selection process considers the liberal people “closer” to me and therefore they are more likely to appear. But a part of me wonders if there isn’t something rather profound here that I cannot quite articulate. Something involving the social acceptability of conservative viewpoints versus liberal ones in my SES social ecosphere. Something that bodes pretty ill for the GOP.

* – I am, compared to many, unloved. Only 110 friends or so.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. The people most likely to post political stuff in my friends’ list are my in-laws that I got from Maribou.

    I do not respond to these posts.

  2. I don’t know. I have 3 liberal friends who post poli stuff and one cousin who regularly accuses the ACLU of being commies. It seems pretty easy to throw up anything on FB without much thought. 110 friends seems like a lot to me fwiw.

  3. The most prolific for me are a couple of former coworkers, an old college mate, and some in-laws.

    I just find it interesting that I know of a lot of conservative Friends, and either they’re staying away from politics or getting filtered out from my feed for one reason or another (scanning the walls of a couple, it seems to be the former).

  4. My very vague take based on anecdote is that the average Republican calls him/herself either “Republican” or “conservative” on facebook and acts like an average person; the average Democrat uses “moderate” and acts like an average person; and then you have “liberals” who are raving lunatics and post all kinds of stuff all over the place. As with general political discourse in the US, you have to be a particular kind of person even to call yourself liberal in the first place.

    I am listed as “Other – Unhandy Devil” myself.

    • ya mean cussed stubborn? I call myself a liberal, and do so unapologetically. Maybe it’s because I LIKE arguing. Hereabouts, folks probably think of me as a lefty-libertarian. Also true, but … more PC. I’d rather you see my spots!

    • It’s my general experience that right-leaners are more likely to call themselves conservative but less likely Republican (even ones I know who have never voted D in their life and probably never will), while liberals are more likely to cop to being Democrats but more likely to consider themselves moderate.

      Polling data (where self-identified conservatives outnumber liberals by a wide margin, and self-identified Democrats typically outnumber Republicans) would seem to bear this out.

      My current political identification on Facebook is often on the jokey side of things. Right now it’s Retardican. Before that it was Natural Law Party (back in the day, whenever I took those “Which Party most closely resembles your philosophy,” NLP was the consistent winner, RIP.

      • Was that test sponsored by the NLP? I always got the impression that they were one of those “seems reasonable in the mission statement but gets crazy as soon as you start digging” parties–as most American 3rd parties seem to be.

  5. This is funny, but I find it just the opposite. My FB peeps that are conservative post about 90% of the political stuff that I see, and they certainly post the most angry sounding.

    Here’s a theory I am just now pulling our of my butt, in real time:

    Since you’re in a conservative part of the country, and I in a liberal, I wonder if people who view themselves to be in the minority, politically, feel more of a need to aggressively self-identify with their political views? Maybe a liberal gal in PDX does’t feel the need to post something she saw on Rachel Maddow in ALL CAPS WITH MANY EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!, but a conservative guy that just watched Bill O’Reilly does. And vice versa for your friends in your part of the world.

    Maybe it’s just different and you don’t have feel as ugh of a need to send up flares if most of the people you live and work around feel the same way about stuff; and maybe it’s hard not to feel defensive if everyone around feels differently – and consequently you shout and point at stuff more often.

    • when I read dkos more, I used to repost the funny things (mostly stupid republican tricks, natch). maybe that just says something about me and my sense of humor.

    • This could well be it, actually. The repeat offenders (not that I consider it offensive) tend to be from particularly conservative places (Utah, Alabama, Idaho). The most recent conservative guy is an old grade school chum who now lives in Connecticut, with another from a Washington-suburb of Portland. Some exceptions, but definitely a pattern.

  6. In my experience, liberals are more likely to make a top post that’s got overtly political content, and conservatives are more likely to introduce political content as a comment to someone else’s post. This is not to imply that either of these is a common occurrence overall, though.

    I will say that the people who skew conservative are generally more likely to post something “inspirational” ripped off from a Hallmark card.

    • I will say that the people who skew conservative are generally more likely to post something “inspirational” ripped off from a Hallmark card.


  7. The stuff I see is mainly liberal, I have lots of politically active friends that tilt pretty heavily left. My more conservative friends mostly post obliquely conservative or social conservative/evangelical things, like what DD mentioned above.
    My wife’s feed, on the other hand, is quite different – lots of overtly conservative political posts, even more evangelical stuff,with a few really loud liberals (she’s a lefty but born and raised in small-town Georgia means she knows lots and lots of conservatives).

  8. The political views line in mine says “anti-politics”. Breakdown of my listed friends:

    * people I know from blogging and communication afterwards (overwhelmingly libertarian/anarchist.)
    * old friends from back in tha day (a few liberals, a few who don’t pay attention to politics at all, and one anarchist)
    * family (few are big on politics at all)

  9. I think it’s to do with whose posts you read and respond to vs. whose posts you ignore. So if you make a habit of responding to those liberal posters, you’re more likely to see more of them, whether your responses are in agreement or disagreement.

    For awhile, All I was seeing were the posts of one person whose political posts I was most likely to respond to–despite the fact that other friends had posts I was more inclined to agree with (or for that matter, disagree with in a “this is so wrong I can’t even respond to it” sense).

    And it’s not only about the political posts. I skip over a lot of posts by conservative friends because they’re the aforementioned hallmark card sentiments and pictures of cute kittens, while my liberal friends are more likely to post about video games and family news. Which means I’m more likely to see the liberal political posts.

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