Saturday, December 4, 2010

Social Media Helps Folks be - Big Surprise! - More Social

"Social Media Make You More Sociable, Study Says"
Hugh Collins, DailyFinance (November 24, 2010)

"Social media websites such as Facebook make people more sociable, researchers say.

"The findings contradict a widespread belief that online socializing is replacing in person contact as people shun the world beyond their computer screen.

" 'Our findings suggest that Facebook is not supplanting face-to-face interactions between friends, family and colleagues,' said S. Craig Watkins, an associate professor of radio, TV and film at the University of Texas.

" 'In fact, we believe there is sufficient evidence that social media afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy and community, Watkins said, according to Reuters...."

The Lemming might be more surprised about the result of this research, if the Lemming didn't remember when chronic hand-wringers were bemoaning the death of social interaction - being caused by the telephone.

New technologies - the telephone, television, movable type, the Internet - seem to be scary. To some folks, anyway.

Let's look at what Reuters had to say:

"Facebook makes people more social: study"
Reuters, Edition: U.S. (November 23, 2010 )

"Contrary to common belief social media websites such as Facebook do not weaken personal ties, they strengthen them in unique ways for different age groups, according to a new study.

"The rapid spread of Facebook, which has more than 500 million users worldwide, has prompted concerns about its negative effects, but researchers at the University of Texas have reached a different conclusion....

"...The researchers questioned 900 college students and recent graduates about how and with whom they interact on Facebook.

"More than 60 percent of Facebook users said posting status updates was among the most popular activities, followed by 60 percent who wrote comments on their profile and 49 percent who posted messages and comments to friends.

"The researchers also found that although about the same number of men and women use Facebook, they do so in different ways.

" 'There is a noteworthy difference in orientation in how to use a tool like Facebook. We found that for women the content tends to be more affectionate, and (they) are especially interested in using it for connection,' said Watkins.

" 'For men, it's more functional,' he added.

"Watkins pointed out that, for example, women are more likely to post pictures of social gatherings with friends, while men are more likely to post pictures of hobbies, or post a political or pop-culture related link...."

What! Men and women aren't the same?! Looks like this isn't the eighties any more. And that's another topic. (July 30, 2009)

About online social media involving - of all things - social behavior. Well, like the Lemming said: this may not be quite as amazing as it may seem.

The Lemming also thinks that this is another case of 'what everybody knows' not necessarily being so.

So, does the Lemming thinks that social media will have no effect? That we'll just keep on being social with each other like we did in the nineties? Eighties? Seventies? Do I think Disco is coming back?

Hardly.

Teenagers in the Victorian age didn't spend time on the telephone. Not because they were repressed - the technology wasn't there. By the sixties, the teen with a phone semi-permanently attached to the ear was a feature on the cultural landscape. These days, it's texting.

Details, in the Lemming's opinion, change as technology makes it possible for folks to communicate with each other in new ways. The basics - communicating with friends, meeting new people, and expanding your circle of friends and acquaintances? The Lemming doesn't think that's going to change all that much, as long as we're dealing with human beings.

Sort-of-related posts:My take on technology and people:
A tip of the hat to Steveology, on Twitter, for the heads-up on the DailyFinance post.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

And, for some of us, it makes social interactions possible without the kind of horrible awkwardness that real-time interactions create. And there are the people I'd never have met if not for the internet.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

I think I know what you mean - although some of my online 'conversations' have been in very close to real-time. In my case, I think the advantage is that online communication is - or can be - strictly verbal. That, I can understand.

The big plus for me is that I have opportunities to meet folks throughout the world.

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