Researcher taps into Reddit to understand which social media-shared cannabis posts steered opinions the most

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Reddit – an online news and social media network of over 100,000 communities – is designed for curating viral content and, according to a curious researcher, stimulating opinion on cannabis-related laws and legal issues. A Brown University researcher recently implemented machine technology to interpret over three million Reddit comments spanning from 2009-2019. The dates represented a turning point in the state-level cannabis reform movement. Ph.D. candidate Babak Hemmatian examined multifarious Reddit posts to understand what types of user conversations most affected the public’s decision to back legalization efforts — a growing trend, based on the latest Pew Research polling. While it comes as no surprise to learn that social media can significantly mold political decisions, the research paper, titled, “Taking the High Road: A Big Data Investigation of Natural Discourse in the Emerging U.S. Consensus about Marijuana Legalization,” unearthed some unpredictable trends. Reddit cannabis study identified numerous fascinating themes Through his research experience and techniques, Hemmatian learned that, as opposed to anecdotes that are historically renowned for influencing people’s minds and emotions, the biggest influence on cannabis opinion emerged from Reddit users who posted more judgment-based arguments about reform. “Cannabis legalization is a highly unusual topic in how a bipartisan consensus was reached in a matter of years while the American society was otherwise becoming more polarized,” Hemmatian said during a recent interview with Marijuana Moment reporters. “I wanted to know if the way the public discusses cannabis facilitated this unusual shift, and how the societal change in attitudes in turn affected how we talk about cannabis.” “Anecdotes were less often used to persuade people, meaning their persuasive potential was somewhat wasted. Still, people did often briefly mention them to buttress more general claims like the mentioned character judgments,” said Hemmatian, who also identified some other themes. One of those…

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Source : Researcher taps into Reddit to understand which social media-shared cannabis posts steered opinions the most

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