Social Networking is the new buzz word of the day, and the Internet is changing it. Let’s not forget how to write a personal note, and let’s continue to pick up the phone when appropriate, but let’s also acknowledge that social networking online has added a whole new dimension to how we can connect.
The researchers who just published a study indicating that Americans are particularly isolated, discount this avenue of social networking. An article about it ran in the Washington Post.
I didn’t know much about MySpace.com (60 million registered users) before I heard the buzz about it at BlogHer. I’ve run into it several times since. Now I just have to have one. Last week, a waitress who is a new mom told me she has a MySpace site. Monday’s Wall Street Journal mentions MySpace at the top of the font page because crafty marketers are creating fictitious sites to place ads on other user’s sites. Grrrrr. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about how one man is using his MySpace site to help find missing teenagers. It’s not just for teenagers, it’s for moms and non-moms alike (even dads and non-dads). This post by a Chronicle editorial writer sums up the social world of MySpace quite well.
The study mentioned above was conducted by General Social Survey, a federally funded think tank engaged with the mission of finding out what Americans think. It included phone interviews (we all love those, don’t we?) with 1,500 Americans.
I felt the research must have overlooked the Internet and the myriad of ways people are connecting there. Others are blogging about it too. They have done us a service in pointing out how and where we may be vulnerable socially, which brings me to being childfree. Ours is a path less traveled and it is important to find others who are fellow travelers, in person and online. The benefits are obvious. How to do this may be less so, or more of us would be doing it.
“We know these close ties are what people depend on in bad times,” she [Lynn Smith-Lovin, one of the researchers out of Duke University] said. “We’re not saying people are completely isolated. They may have 600 friends on Facebook.com and email 25 people a day, but they are not discussing matters that are personally important.”
Future post: How to improve your childfree social network.
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