Oregonians believe in power of social media, study says

Study: People think social media spurs change

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The need to scroll through Facebook and Twitter; it's something a lot of us experience. So many people are logged in, constantly on social media.

"I definitely use it every day... maybe like 10-15 hours a day," said Michel Castillo.

While Castillo said he uses social media mostly for networking, he also believes just perusing Facebook can influence people.

"You might not necessarily notice it, you might scroll past it, but you might see a picture 8-10 times a day and they make you look at it," Castillo said.

"It can definitely change public opinion and public policy just because of the mass amount of people viewing it," said Portland resident Kyle Smith.

A new study found more than half of Oregonians feel that posting to social media is just as or more important to enacting change than voting, working on a political campaign or volunteering.

"The public feels that political leaders are paying attention on social media," said Zach Hyder who works with Quinn Thomas, the firm that released the report. "On the one hand we saw the majority saying they place a very high value on social media use," said Hyder.

On the flip side, some people don't think it influences people's opinions on things like gun regulation or healthcare, but instead reinforces their own views.

"You can see it, but it's all how you are. Social media is not going to change how you view things," said Katie Barber from Beaverton.

One of the focuses of the research is perception versus reality. More people are using social media and many of them believe it plays a big part in changing opinions and policies, but does it really? It's actual influence will need more studies.

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