New Study Suggests Political Candidates Shouldn’t Use Humor on Social Media

New research supported by the Ohio State University found that when political candidates try to be funny on social media it could backfire when it comes to gaining new supporters.

When it came to political candidates that voters were not familiar with, the study found that voters are more likely to view the use of humor by that unfamiliar candidate as inappropriate. The study also showed that voters saw that unfamiliar candidate who used humor as less credible and thereby less likely to get their vote.

The authors of the study warned that political candidates should be cautious about the use of humor on social media. Even though, generally speaking, the general populace is encouraged to be less formal on social media this does not apply to politicians from whom voters expect seriousness and competence, even on social media.

In this study, subjects reacted to social media posts from an invented candidate (so none of the subjects would have had any prior experience with them). It is possible the rules might be different for widely known politicians such as the President or the Speaker of the House.

The study was published in “Communication Research Reports.”

Legitimate News or Not? Scientists Find Out Why People Can’t Tell the Difference Between Real News and Satire on Social Media

Researchers at the Ohio State University have found there may be clear downsides to getting news from social media. And not for the reasons you might think.

Researchers found that when people view a blend of news and entertainment through a single portal, through a single social media app they pay less attention to the source of content they consumed. Meaning there is a higher risk for mistaking satire for news or vice versa.

When consuming content that is separated into clearly defined categories (a news section, entertainment section, health and wellness etc.) they didn’t have the same problems deciding on the credibility of the content.

The scientists involved in this research believe they have found a legitimate danger when it comes to people blending news and entertainment viewing on apps like Facebook and Twitter. Researchers stated that while people like that one-stop-shop idea for media content, that jumbling of content makes everything seem the same or equal to us.

The issues is that there is no visual difference on Facebook, for example, between something like the New York Times and a random blog. Everything is the same, color scheme, font, frames etc. So one obvious solution would be for social media companies to develop ways to distinguish content.

Until something like this happens researchers believe that using social media as a one stop shop for content could be reducing positive media literacy behaviors.