Tracing the Tribe has seen cartoons of people physically sitting around a table and communicating via texting on their cellphones, instead of audibly talking to each other.
The New York Times technology column "Bits" has a story by Stefanie Olsen on a new study that shows just the opposite.
Hundreds of daily updates come from friends on Facebook and Twitter, but do people actually feel closer to each other?The study interviewed via phone 2,512 adults living in the continental US in July and August 2008 and discovered:
It turns out the size of the average American’s social circle is smaller today than 20 years ago, as measured by the number of self-reported confidants in a person’s life. Yet contrary to popular opinion, use of cellphones and the Internet is not to blame, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
From the report itself, I pulled these stats:
I love that last one. I wish I had more time to go to the park! Maybe their parks have Wi-Fi? Mine doesn't.
The questions asked (see the 97 questions here and the results for each) were supposed to get at the relationship between social isolation in America and use of digital technologies. The study also wanted to change earlier research suggesting that technology caused people to become socially disconnected.
The 2006 study indicated that people saying they had no one to confide in had almost tripled from 1985-2004, but the new study showed that only 6 percent of the American population felt that way, not a significant change over the past 25 years.
Read the complete story at the NYT link above, as well as the complete study at that link.