Friday, November 06, 2009

Is digital increasing our networks and decreasing isolation

The latest report from Pew sheds some new light on the problems of social isolation and the digital age.

The original report in 2006 showed that Americans were

more socially isolated, the size of their discussion networks has declined, and the diversity of those people with whom they discuss important matters has decreased.

and that new technologies, such as the internet and mobile phone, may play a role in advancing this trend.

Wind forward three years and the situation is rather different

Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.

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