With public opinion polls showing the American public fairly evenly split on the issue of same-sex marriage, many social media users last week voiced strong support for those unions. On Twitter and blogs last week, statements backing the right of gay couples to marry outnumbered those opposed by more than 2-to-1-continuing a trend that has surfaced before in social media.
For the week of May 7-11, Obama's comment on May 9 in favor of same-sex marriage was the No. 1 topic on blogs and the No. 3 subject on Twitter, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. An examination of the social media conversation reveals that while the president's pronouncement increased the amount of discussion online, it did not appear to alter the overall level of support.
To gauge the views of those on social media, PEJ used computer technology from the media monitoring firm Crimson Hexagon to identify the tone of the conversation on both Twitter and blogs. The examination included the period from May 6-the day that Vice President Joseph Biden voiced his support on Meet the Press-to May 13, five days after North Carolina voted down gay marriage and four days after Obama's statement. The study was not focused solely on Obama's interview, but rather the views related to gay marriage overall.
Read the full report, In Social Media, Support for Same-sex Marriage, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism website.