East Lansing, MI (PRWEB) September 13, 2013
A new study by researchers at Social Context Group, a collaboration between social media analytics companies Loudpixel and Conspiracy Media Group, reports that 84.5% of those who expressed opinions for or against a U.S. strike on Syria in social media disapproved of the idea.
“Social media has transformed the way that we understand social perceptions and trends,” says Allie Siarto, a partner at Social Context Group, “People aren’t just writing to their Congressmen and women to share their opinions anymore, and they’re not stopping at in-person rallies. They’re sending their representatives notes on Twitter every day, and they’re rapidly spreading their opinions online, so social media becomes an important touch point to understand U.S. perceptions around issues like Syria.”
According to Siarto, more than 1.2 million social media posts in the U.S. have shared opinions and news about Syria in the past week.
“About 34% of people are just sharing straight news on Syria with no opinions,” says Siarto, “but the other 65% are passionately sharing their opinions on the matter.”
This trend in personal opinions expressed online goes against the way that news on the issue is being reported and shared online. According to Siarto, 35.3% of stories that shared the opinions of specific politicians have expressed support for a U.S. strike, while 21.6% have reported disapproval of the strike from specific politicians. The remaining 43.1% of politicians who were quoted in social or mainstream news were reported as undecided or neutral on the issue.
Ultimately, 41% of those who were pro-military action in social media directly cited the chemical attacks in Syria as the basis for their opinions, while 35% of those who were against taking action expressed more general anti-Obama sentiment.
“The biggest driver of approval for a strike has been the chemical weapons attack,” says Ed Dilworth, a partner at Social Context Group, “Overwhelmingly those who disapprove take issue with the way Obama has handled the issue or simply have disdain for Obama. Selling the American people on this issue would likely require a proxy more distant from the President than Secretary of State Kerry. The social data clearly indicates how each side of the issue can be convinced. Those who might be moved to approve need more push on the chemical weapons issue and protecting international civilians, and those who don’t respond to broader anti-Obama messaging.”
The Trends: Perceptions Expressed in Social Media
Of those in the U.S. who expressed opinions about President Obama in social media, 10.8% approved of his handling of the Syria issue, 24.6% were neutral or undecided and 64.6% disapproved of his handling of the issue.
The top reasons for disapproval included fear of an escalated war (15.8% of disapprovals), cost (7.5% of disapprovals) and general feelings that a military strike is not in the best interest of United States citizens (3.3% of disapprovals).
The top mentioned potential benefits of a strike included protecting civilians (28.6% of benefit mentions), protecting U.S. credibility by following through on threats (28.6% of benefit mentions) and maintaining global order (14.3% of benefit mentions).
26.3% of all U.S. social media posts about Syria discussed Congressional involvement in the decision.
2.5% of those in the U.S. who expressed opinions on the strike believe that it is being discussed as a way to distract from the anniversary of the Benghazi attack.
1.8% of all U.S. social media posts about Syria discussed the fact that John McCain was playing poker during the first public hearing about U.S. plans for military intervention in Syria.
About Social Context Group
Social Context Group is a collaboration between social media analytics company, Loudpixel, based out of East Lansing, Michigan and Conspiracy Media Group, based out of San Francisco, California. The group produces in depth research reports based on trends and perceptions in social media.