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What Your Facebook Page Reveals About the Issues You Care About: Cool Maps Have the Answers

Does it feel like your social media feeds are dominated by one political issue or another?

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Your location in the real world might have a lot to do with what you’re seeing online.

Ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, the Wall Street Journal released a cartographical treasure trove: the political posts of 20 million Facebook users, mapped and sorted.

Discussions about jobs and the economy dominate in Wisconsin…

…while talking about such issues as income inequality, the minimum wage and poverty was common throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

Talking about energy and the environment is huge in some places — New York, for instance, where subterranean shale reserves make hydraulic fracturing a potentially lucrative option but where politicians have largely kept fracking out of the state — but in other places one might expect to find energy talk, social media is quiet on the issue.

Just look at Texas, a longstanding hub of American oil production where it seems virtually no one is talking about energy.

Talk about so-called women’s issues, such as birth control and how much money women earn relative to men, was more subdued.

While energy and the environment, the economy or minimum wage issues could take up roughly 15 percent of some regions’ political social media discussions, women’s issues hovered between 1 and 3 percent across the country, though the talk was spread fairly widely throughout the nation.

A major talking point throughout the South: immigration.

Discussions of immigration dominated Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and even parts of southern California — though as the Journal noted, the places where immigration talk was strongest happened to be places that weren’t hotly contested politically, meaning that voters are likely in one camp or another on the issue and politicians aren’t looking to change their minds.

On the issue of healthcare, Republicans are taking the lead, bringing up the issue 10 times as often as Democrats, the Journal reported.

The impact of the discussion can be seen nationwide.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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