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Presidential Politics Strain Facebook Friendships


We've all had them - those people in our Facebook news feeds whose political updates we find abhorrent or stupid or just plain irritating. But with Election 2012 drawing nigh, such updates seem to have increased tenfold, leaving us with that mighty modern quandary: To block or not to block? Or perhaps even - gasp - to unfriend altogether?

Across social media outlets, the presidential election is straining previously friendly digital relationships. According to a survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-fifth of people admit to blocking, unfriending or hiding someone on social media over political postings. [ Only one-fifth???] The biggest complaints were someone posting too frequently about political subjects, posting something a user disagreed with or found offensive and arguing about politics with the user or someone they know.

"In the real world, we navigate these issues all the time," Aaron Smith, a Pew research associate, told CNN. "We know not to bring up politics around certain friends or family members. We try to avoid people who are constantly looking for an argument or trying to sell us on their pet ideas."

Since blocking, unfriending, hiding people is the closest social analogue to those real-world examples, it's not necessarily surprising to see people taking these steps in the virtual space," he added.

For some, the no-talking-politics mandate carries over from real life to the digital world: 22 percent say they avoid making political comments on social media sites for fear of offending others.

Among the Center's other findings:

- 38 percent of users said they discovered through friends' social network postings that their political beliefs were different than they thought.

- The majority of people users' blocked, unfriended or hid because of politics were "distant friends or acquaintances"  in real life, not close friends, coworkers or family members.

So how about you guys - ever blocked, unfriended or hid a social media friend because of their political posts? And, if so, why?

Monday Quick Hits:

Democrats, Republicans differ in TV preferences? According to TiVo, they do. A study conducted by the company's research and analytics division measured the top 20 shows for registered Democrat and Republican viewers - and not one network show appeared on both lists. Two of the top shows for Republicans were PGA golf tournaments and NASCAR, and reality shows were also popular. On the Democrat list, sitcoms and animated comedies scored high.

Social Security increase for 2013 will be small. The cost-of-living adjustment for next year won't be made official until tomorrow, but it's expected to be between 1 and 2 percent - a raise of about $12 to $24 per month for your average retiree. "The COLA continues to be very critical to people in keeping them from falling behind," says David Certner, AARP's legislative policy director.

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