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How Is Social Networking Affecting Our Offline Connections?

22 June 2011COMMENTS

If I had a pound for every time I've heard someone insinuate that social networking has a negative effect on our real life social connections then I'd have atleast £10.

But does having an active online presence really have a negative effect on your social connections? A recently released Pew study on 'Social Networking Sites And Our Lives' attempts to correlate 'how people’s trust, personal relationships, and civic and political involvement are connected to their use of social networking sites and other technologies'.

There are a number of very interesting findings that I hope to extract and cover over the coming weeks, but something from the report that stood out in particular was the study on the percentage of adults who know the names of their neighbours.

Here are the findings:

In 2008 40% of adults know all or most of their neighbours

In 2010, 51% of adults know all or most of their neighbours

In this period of time the number of active Facebook users has increased from 100million to 500million.

But what explains the 11 percent increase?

The report suggests that the harsh economic downturn has prompted or necessitated the need for people to turn to their neighbours for informal support. This isn't necessarily down to the use of social networking, but in 2008 social networking site users were less likely to know the names of their neighbours. This is no longer the case. Now social networking site users are equally as likely to know at least some of their neighbours.

There has been a recent trend with new social networking sites to build on the idea of encouraging closer networking ties. Path, for example, gives users a limited number of connections, whereas neghbourhood networking is encouraged with a social network like OhSoWe

Do you think that this is the future of social networking?

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