There’s not being online and being online but not accessing social networks

The most frequently cited benefit of the internet was in helping people tap into social networks, and I don’t just mean MySpace or Facebook. For many internet users, their social network consists of their email contacts list, but they reap similar benefits. American communities are transforming. People communicate and maneuver in multiple social networks rather than being bound up in one solitary community that is defined by where they live. Yet people’s networks continue to have substantial numbers of relatives and neighbors — the traditional bases of community — as well as friends and colleagues. People are able to maintain active contact with sizable social networks by using email and the internet, even though many of the people in those networks do not live nearby. And by the way, internet users are not shut-ins, confining themselves to their screens. To the contrary, we find that the more that people see each other in person and talk on the phone, the more they use the internet. Let me say that again: the ore social you are offline, the more you use the internet. And the more they cultivate their ontacts, the more likely internet users are to reap the benefits: People use the internet to seek out others in their social network when they need help.

Visit the Pew/Internet & American Life Project to read the report Internet Usage Trends: Through the Demographic Lens.

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2 Comments

Filed under Digital Divide, Networks, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror

2 responses to “There’s not being online and being online but not accessing social networks

  1. Thanks for this. I’m a newcomer to blogging, struggling to rebalance the virtual/non virtual and work/life dimensions. I partly agree with you, that the more that people see each other in person and talk on the phone, the more they use the internet. I’d make the proposition more conditional. Fut for some people the problem is one of becoming out of balance. Too much towards the pleasures of blogging leads to CBS (compulusive blogging syndrome). It may not have been clinically confirmed yet … but it will. Possibly first in the blogosphere.

  2. Pingback: New Media makes the social network paradigm visible « What’s New Media?

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