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SDSU researchers look at social media use during the capital riot

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 7:53 PM CDT
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Katy Coduto and Jenn Anderson, were going about their day when news of the capital riot broke on January 6th. As more news about what was happening was coming out, they saw more and more posts on social media.

The South Dakota State University Associate Professors saw this as an opportunity to gather data and see if this breaking news event was changing how people were using social media.

“As the events were unfolding we were texting each other and started writing the survey, literally with the TV on in the background,” said Coduto.

Caduto had previously studied cognitive preoccupation with social media, which is when people are thinking about social media even when they are not on it. This made making the research question for this breaking news incident easier.

“I’ve studied compulsive use before, I had measurements for these things ready, so it was really easy to adapt those to make them applicable to what was going on,” said Coduto.

The survey showed those who already compulsively use social media not only increased their social media use but also accessed a greater number of social media channels. People were also more actively engaged on those platforms during the breaking news event.

“It’s interesting trying to ask people about things that have become so ingrained in their day it’s something you don’t even necessarily think about consciously,” said Anderson. “maybe even not until you’ve taken that survey and you realize, ‘wow I am spending a lot of time on here. This was the place where I turned when something was happening and I didn’t understand what it was, this was where I went.’”

Coduto and Anderson recently did a follow-up survey to see if and how people’s reactions to the capital riot have changed and will be going through that to see what that data shows.

More information about their research can be found by clicking here.

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