A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Barack Obama’s Facebook Fans
This study sought to paint a picture of the group of Obama Facebook fans by investigating the interactions between their political activities on Facebook, their political activities offline, and the activities and opinions of their friends. The quantitative and qualitative data collected in the study yielded some significant and interesting trends. Obama Facebook fans were, in general, a moderately to strongly politically involved group; even those who said that politics was less important to them had voted, which significant numbers of Americans routinely do not do. Participants felt real connections to Obama, though many said that this connection was casual, particularly as it was expressed through Facebook. Results support the findings of Vitak et al. (2010) that Facebook political activity is fairly common among college students and that political activity in general is predicted by online political activity and friends’ political activity. As increasingly large numbers of people integrate Facebook into their social lives, this could certainly have implications for political participation in coming decades.
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