By CHARLOTTE JONES / The Haveman Chronicle
FAIRBANKS, Ak — Groundbreaking new research suggests that bold statements in status posts on the popular social networking site Facebook actually have zero affect on the opinions of those who read the posts, a study by Professor Robert Prince at the University of Alaska Fairbanks finds. “In a review of hundreds of inflammatory posts and the thousands who read them, my research showed not even the slightest shift in opinion.’ said Prince to an office packed with reporters. “This goes 100% against what we expected to find and I greatly fear this may lead to a massive poop storm.’ he said, in an candid moment that prompted an audible gasp from reporters.
The controversial results come as a major blow to many political analysts in the wake of the 2012 elections. Numerous news agencies credited Obama’s victory in Nevada to a fiery Facebook post by office manager Renee Peterson of Reno just days before the election in which she said that anyone who voted for Romney was a, “Racist, sexist, misogynistic, pig-licking xenophobe.’
“We just couldn’t imagine that a statement that passionate, well-articulated and dead on with the key issues of the election could be anything but a major blow to the Romney campaign in that state.’ said Fred Starkman of the political analysis group Casting Lots. “It seemed like a sure bet and I don’t know if I could ever be convinced it wasn’t a major turning point in that state.’
Other researchers have rushed to repeat the study. Fox News reported this morning that no one has been able to replicate the results so far. “They have said my study is invalid because no one has come back with the same results I did.’ said Prince. “While that is strictly true, what they fail to mention in their criticism is what the other studies actually found. These studies have shown bold expressions of opinion on Facebook often persuade friends and family to actually take an opposing stance to that of the one expressed. So, in that sense, it is true that they can’t replicate my research.’
The firestorm spread quickly to Facebook headquarters where public relations representative Shirley Hart read from a written statement in a hastily assembled press conference. “We encourage all our faithful Facebook users to remain calm. The jury is still out on this research and we remain firm in our belief that making bold, unfounded and irrational statements on Facebook has a major impact on public opinion and is a vital cog in the effective functioning of our democracy. Facebook was founded on the belief that rants and incessant updates on the mind numbing minutia of our boring lives are critical to the success of a first-world society and we will stand stalwart in our mission to provide that service to billions of users around the world.’
When asked about his response to the wave of criticism from his controversial study, Professor Prince replied, “I think the United States needs a snack and a nap.’