How Race Influences Social-Media Sharing: Just about everyone is participating in online discussions. But a new poll shows that what people talk about can vary greatly.

When Stephanie Williams saw that Western High School in her town of Shively, Kentucky, was on lockdown after reports of an active shooter, she quickly shared the news on Facebook. Williams — a 42-year-old registered nurse — has several friends with children at the school and wanted to make sure they knew about the situation. Outside of emergencies, she posts weekly, typically about topics related to her community, or medical articles connected to her work. “If it’s useful to me, it’s definitely useful to someone else,” she says.Many social-media platforms have evolved to become far-reaching forums, places to share updates with everyone from friends to grandparents to erstwhile acquaintances. They’ve also emerged as go-to outlets for news stories about both national issues and regional ones. According to the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, 60 percent of people on these platforms have used them to share information about a local issue or event. This makes sense given one of the poll’s other findings: People actually spend more time engaging on social media with those live near them (64 percent)than with those who live farther away.

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