本文摘要:The Internet might be a useful tool for activists and organizers, in episodes from the Arab Spring to the Ice Bucket Challenge. But over all, it has diminished rather than enhanced political participation, according to new data.从“阿拉伯之春”到“冰桶挑战”,互联网在许多事件中有可能都是活动人士和组织者的有效地工具。

The Internet might be a useful tool for activists and organizers, in episodes from the Arab Spring to the Ice Bucket Challenge. But over all, it has diminished rather than enhanced political participation, according to new data.从“阿拉伯之春”到“冰桶挑战”,互联网在许多事件中有可能都是活动人士和组织者的有效地工具。但近期数据表明,从总体上看,互联网却巩固而不是提升了人们的政治参与度。

Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, has the effect of tamping down diversity of opinion and stifling debate about public affairs. It makes people less likely to voice opinions, particularly when they think their views differ from those of their friends, according to a report published Tuesday by researchers at Pew Research Center and Rutgers University.Twitter和Facebook等社交媒体实质上压制了观点的多样性,而且诱导了人们对公共事务的辩论。皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)和罗格斯大学(Rutgers University)的研究人员周二公开发表的报告称之为,社交媒体减少了人们表达意见的可能性,特别是在是当他们指出自己的观点与朋友有所不同的时候。

The researchers also found that those who use social media regularly are more reluctant to express dissenting views in the offline world.研究人员还找到,与其他人比起,常常用于社交媒体的人在线下的世界里,更为不不愿传达有所不同观点。The Internet, it seems, is contributing to the polarization of America, as people surround themselves with people who think like them and hesitate to say anything different. Internet companies magnify the effect, by tweaking their algorithms to show us more content from people who are similar to us.这样显然,随着人们让自己周围只只剩与自己观点相近,而且不不愿明确提出有所不同的观点的人,互联网正在激化美国民众观点的分化。互联网公司通过调整算法,向我们展出了更好与我们相近的人公布的内容,于是缩放了这一效应。

People who use social media are finding new ways to engage politically, but theres a big difference between political participation and deliberation, said Keith N. Hampton, an associate professor of communication at Rutgers and an author of the study. People are less likely to express opinions and to be exposed to the other side, and thats exposure wed like to see in a democracy.“用于社交媒体的人,找到了参予政治的新方式,但政治参予和政治辩论是有相当大区别的,”本文的作者之一、罗格斯大学传播学副教授基思·N·汉普顿(Keith N. Hampton)说道,“人们不那么偏向于传达观点了,也不不愿与有所不同立场的人认识。我们在民主制度中,是希望看到这种认识的。”The researchers set out to investigate the effect of the Internet on the so-called spiral of silence, a theory that people are less likely to express their views if they believe they differ from those of their friends, family and colleagues. The Internet, many people thought, would do away with that notion because it connects more heterogeneous people and gives even minority voices a bullhorn.研究人员想探寻互联网对所谓的“绝望的螺旋”的影响。

该理论指出,当人们指出自己的观点与朋友、家人或同事不同时,传达自己观点的意愿就不会减少。许多人指出,互联网不会让这个概念完全消失,因为它让更为相同的人们联系在一起,甚至还能传播少数群体的声音。Instead, the researchers found, the Internet reflects the offline world, where people have always gravitated toward like-minded friends and shied away from expressing divergent opinions. (There is a reason for the old rule to avoid religion or politics at the dinner table.)然而研究人员找到,互联网就是线下世界的体现。

在线下世界,人们就总是不会被点子完全相同的朋友更有,靠近传达有所不同意见的人。(所以才有在餐桌上避谈宗教或政治的老规矩。)And in some ways, the Internet has deepened that divide. It makes it easy for people to read only news and opinions from people they agree with. In many cases, people dont even make that choice for themselves. Last week, Twitter said it would begin showing people tweets even from people they dont follow if enough other people they follow favorite them. On Monday, Facebook said it would hide stories with certain types of headlines in the news feed. Meanwhile, harassment from online bullies who attack people who express opinions has become a vexing problem for social media sites and their users.而互联网以某些方式加剧了这种分化。它让人们很更容易就可以只读者自己尊重的人公布的消息和观点。


与此同时,网上不当用户对传达观点的人展开侵扰,早已出了一个令其社交网站和用户都感到困惑的问题。Humans are acutely attuned to the approval of others, constantly reading cues to judge whether people agree with them, the researchers said. Active social media users get many more of these cues — like status updates, news stories people choose to share and photos of how they spend their days — and so they become less likely to speak up.研究人员称之为,人类都反感渴求获得他人的接纳,大大地理解各种信号,辨别人们否尊重自己。活跃的社交媒体用户需要取得更好的此类信号——比如状态改版、人们共享的消息,以及他们日常生活的照片——因此更加不不愿传达自己的观点。For the study, researchers asked people about the revelations of National Security Agency surveillance by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, a topic on which Americans were almost evenly divided.为了已完成这份报告,研究人员调查了一些人对泄密者爱德华·斯诺登(Edward Snowden)揭发美国国家安全局(National Security Agency,全称NSA)监控项目的观点,美国人对这个问题基本上不存在两种观点,且所持两种观点的人数非常。

Most people surveyed said they would be willing to discuss government surveillance at dinner with family or friends, at a community meeting or at work. The only two settings where most people said they would not discuss it were Facebook and Twitter. And people who use Facebook a few times a day were half as likely as others to say they would voice an opinion about it in a real-world conversation with friends.大多数的被调查者称之为,他们不愿在餐桌上与家人和朋友辩论政府监控项目的问题,也不愿在社区聚会或工作场所这么做到。多数人回应,他们惟独不愿在Facebook和Twitter上辩论这个话题。而每天多次指定Facebook的人,自称为不愿在现实里与朋友的聊天中就此事发表意见的概率,与其他人比起不会较低一半。Yet if Facebook users thought their Facebook friends agreed with their position on the issue, they were 1.9 times more likely to join a discussion there. And people with fervent views, either in favor of or against government spying, were 2.4 times more likely to say they would join a conversation about it on Facebook. Interestingly, those with less education were more likely to speak up on Facebook, while those with more education were more likely to be silent on Facebook yet express their opinion in a group of family or friends.然而,如果Facebook用户指出,自己在该网站上的好友表示同意自己的立场,他们在Facebook上参予辩论的可能性就不会减少1.9倍。


The study also found that for all the discussion of social media becoming the place where people find and discuss news, most people said they got information about the N.S.A. revelations from TV and radio, while Facebook and Twitter were the least likely to be news sources.研究还找到,尽管很多人都说道社交媒体正在沦为找到和辩论新闻事件的平台,但多数人回应,他们是通过电视和广播获知了NSA泄露的消息,而Facebook和Twitter沦为消息来源的可能性大于。These findings are limited because the researchers studied a single news event. But consider another recent controversial public affairs story that people discussed online — the protests in Ferguson, Mo. Of the posts you read on Twitter and Facebook from people you know, how many were in line with your point of view and how many were divergent, and how likely were you to speak up?这些找到是具备局限性的,因为研究人员只研究了一个新闻事件。但我们可以看看人们最近在网上辩论的另一桩争议性公共事件——密苏里州弗格森的抗议活动。