Politics Are Driving People Away From Social Media

Politics Are Driving People Away From Social Media
By Ken Huening

At its best, social media is a way for people from all around the world to express their views, share information, and contribute to the global conversation in real time. However, social media is changing rapidly, as is the way we are using it. By and large, the tenor of the conversations, especially those around politics, have become vitriolic, destructive and just plain unpleasant, alienating the people it once promised to connect.

Consider this statistic from a recent survey on social media habits commissioned by MiLegacy: 55% of Americans say that they have either considered or have taken a hiatus from social media.

They offer many reasons why, including feeds filled with things they don’t care about (18%), constant ad bombardment (7%), and the growing competition to get more attention than others (15%).

But more than 1/3rd of people polled said politics was the main reason.

There’s no mistaking that the political tenor on social media has become more caustic in recent years (it wasn’t great before that). But knowing that 34% are considering a break solely because of politics should be a wakeup call for the industry as it is driving a hefty part of the social media populace away from social platforms.

It is hard to look at these statistics and not see that people are actually clamoring for a purer form of social media. They don’t want to see controversial topics and emotionally-charged content; they want a return to the type of social media that celebrates the lives of people, and the connections that bring us together.

Just look at the numbers:

  • Nearly 40% joined to share their lives with family and friends
  • 23% joined to reestablish old relationships
  • 26% joined to be a part of the community that so many others were enjoying

No one said they joined to rant about politics.

This disconnect is feeding a wish among many social media users to establish a different relationship with these platforms. Some 68% of them fully expect that to happen. In fact, another look at the numbers shows that the social media of today barely resembles the communities they initially hoped to join.

Putting politics aside, 22% of those who want to take a break from social media say they want to do so because the connections with their friends and family that they initially joined to foster are getting more and more difficult to achieve among the din of things they simple don’t care about. That is a large chunk of the social media audience not being well-served, and instead, having to wade through negativity to get at the core product.

MiLegacy was built as a counterpoint to the negativity on social media. It allows people of all ages to document their lives, their memories, and the important connections between them and their loved ones. Instead of creating strife and division, MiLegacy aims to fulfill the founding principle of social media — bringing people together.

But it is more than simply sharing our day-to-day lives. It’s about capturing the wisdom, knowledge, and experience of people in a place where others can enjoy it long after they are gone. MiLegacy strives to build communities and connections around what unites us as people.

In our cynical times this may seem like an outdated idea, but the numbers tell a different story.

Ken Huening is Founder, MiLegacy