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Social Isolation and Technology

Technology use is routinely equated with social isolation. We are often told (and in turn tell our youth) to “log out and interact with the real world”. Barry Wellman – with his Netville research – was the first researcher that I’m aware of who questioned the tech use=isolation viewpoint. People who are connected online often have higher levels face-to-face interactions. A new Pew Internet (motto: “why say it in 20 pages when you can say it in 84″) report, Social Isolation and New Technology, explores how internet and mobile use influences network diversity and socialization (or isolation). In the process, the report challenges most myths about online participation: most people have diverse networks, are socially connected (not only in remote online relationships but also to local online networks), participate more actively in volunteering than individuals with less online activity, and visit libraries and public spaces.

One Comment

  1. Confused wrote:

    I thought it was Hampton and Wellman who did the Netville research? As in, the same Hampton who wrote this report. And your problem is that the report gave you to much of the info you like?

    Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink