We’re more than a year away from the 2020 presidential election, and some U.S. social media users already want to hit the snooze button on politics.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center found that 46 percent of U.S. social media users feel “worn out” by politics on social media. That’s a 9 percent increase from 2016.
Pew asked 4,200 U.S. adults in June how they felt about about political discussions on social media. Thirty-eight percent said they “don’t feel strongly” about seeing politics in their feeds, while only 15 percent said they liked it, a 5 percent decrease from 2016.
This is pretty bad news. The fact that seeing politics online is wearing us down could make us less likely to engage politically, which is absolutely crucial with upcoming elections and life-and-death political issues plaguing the country.
It’s also important to remember that not engaging with politics, whether online or IRL, is a sign of privilege. While fatigue is not the same as disengaging, allowing fatigue to win out over action is something only the people whose lives are secure under the Trump administration can afford to do.
The Pew data bears that out: 52 percent of white social media users are fatigued by political content on social media, compared to 36 percent of non-white users.
Additionally, 51 percent of conservatives say they are worn out by encountering political posts online, versus 43 percent of liberals.
The barrage of bad news and endless discussion is enough to make anyone need a nap. But now is definitely not the time to close our eyes.