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The Internet makes friends

Ok, so that’s not quite the appropriate take-away from the new Pew Internet & American Life study. Its subtitle is more accurate:

The internet and email aid users inmaintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions

The first nine pages summarize the findings.

Here’s an almost-randomly chosen snippet to give you a taste of its flavor:

Robert Putnam argued in 2000 that people are seeing friends and relatives much less than they were in the mid-1960s. For example, family picnics decreased by 60% between 1975 and 1999, and card playing went down from an average of 16 times per year in 1981, to 8 times per year in 1999.

Yet evidence from the Social Ties survey show that the situation is not so dire. For one thing, we did not ask about picnics; we asked directly about social relations. This leads to a focus on social networks, whomever they include and wherever they are located. For example, friends and relatives are now spatially dispersed rather than concentrated in neighborhoods. The difficulty of traveling to get together may explain why picnics have declined as a way for friends and relatives to meet. Yet other ways of interacting have flourished, on- and offline.

Americans have an average of more than 200 relationships with friends, relatives, and acquaintances…

Lee Rainie of Pew says, “We worked with some terrific network sociologists to get this right and try to place it in the larger context of social change over the past generation.” Looks good. It’s even well-written, a real plus for a research report (but not a surprise for a Pew Internet report). [Tags: ]

One Response to “The Internet makes friends”

  1. i am boy who is just 18 i have many friends but i like to make more


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