Everyone I know agrees with me. I mean, my Facebook friends “like” everything I post on my wall, and there’s laughing out loud happening pretty much all the time. They clearly adore my taste in fat cat small box videos and my wittily displayed political views. Plus we look so adorably in agreement in all our tagged photos.
Too bad the photo captions should read, These people think they agree more than they do.
According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that most people have no clue how much their Facebook friends actually see eye-to-eye with them on most topics. Of the 2,500 Facebook users surveyed for the study (which included questions about politics, global issues, beer preference, and other relevant issues), researchers found that people think their friends agree with them 84% of the time, which is about 9% more than the actual agreement.
“Friends are typically unaware of their disagreement, even when they say they discuss the topic,” said Sharad Goel, the study’s head researcher.
So why is this?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I know my friends pretty well. Their inner workings, their personalities… I got it all pretty much figured out. But I guess it’s this kind of assumption (stereotyping what kind of people you think your friends are) paired with your own ideological leanings that forms the faulty perception.
That, and the fact that most people don’t discuss the health care bill on Facebook. (It’s really more the realm of cat/box videos.)
Ultimately, the research concludes that while most people can’t gauge the political preferences of their friends, it also means social network users are “probably surrounded by a greater diversity of opinions than is sometimes claimed.”
And that’s something I can agree with. After all, a good man should spend some time hanging out with people who see the world differently than he does.