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SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter and feature Paul’s analysis on this blog.

Last week’s poll question: Which Web browser do you most often use?

  • Fixefox 42%
  • Internet Explorer 35%
  • Google Chrome 13%
  • Safari 9%
  • Flock< 1%
  • Other < 1%
  • Opera 0%

It might seem like a simple question, but browser preference can be a surprisingly emotionally charged issue. A persons’ browser choice is as much about culture and identity as it is about the program’s feature set. Because these browser options each have such strong brand identities, picking one often means assuming part of that identity yourself.

Safari was developed by Apple, so most Sarafi users are Apple owners — or wish they were. Just think about all the connotations that go along with that. Are you a Mozzilla person? Congrats, you care enough about your browser experience to buck Internet Explorer, but you’re probably not willing to go sifting through several replacement options. And if you’re an IE user, then chances are you never deviate from the default settings on your PC. Or you work for Microsoft.

I was surprised to see that Chrome and Safari didn’t have slightly bigger shares in our poll — given Google and Apple’s loyal followings. Firefox felt about right, but IE’s share was considerably bigger than I would have guessed, given social media’s close affinity with all things open source. I’m also surprised not a single person picked Opera. It’s a great little browser, especially for the multitasking set. Though I have to confess– I’m a Firefox man.

Am I way off base? Anyone want to make an impassioned defense of Internet Explorer? Any Flock fans out there upset I didn’t mention it until now? Let me have it in the comments.