Image by Lyn Millett via FlickrTechnology Thursday
Turns out spending hours staring at a flickering screen is not turning us into a nation of friendless, loveless zombies after all! This is according to some interesting results from a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project survey. Who knew??! (Well, me and my friends, for the past 20 years or so, but no matter.)
Yes, contrary to popular stereotype, Americans, even though we have the Internet, are no more isolated now than we were 25 years ago. A few other interesting takeaways from the survey:
- "[O]wnership of a mobile phone and participation in a variety of internet activities are associated with larger and more diverse core discussion networks."
- "Social media activities are associated with several beneficial social activities, including having discussion networks that are more likely to contain people from different backgrounds."
- "[M]any internet technologies are used as much for local contact as they are for distant communication."
The nature of the Internet itself--its comparative indifference to geography and, worries about the digital divide notwithstanding, to social strata mean that any type of interaction that is more than superficial will almost inevitably involve people who are different from you in one dimension or another. There are, of course, factors that work against this--fears about the "Daily Me" and worries about confirmation bias, for example. But it was certainly refreshing to see some survey results on the Non-Zombie side of the ledger.