People who use modern information and communication technologies have larger and more diverse social networks, according to new national survey findings that for the first time explore how people use the internet and mobile phones to interact with key family and friends.
These new finding challenge fears that use of new technologies has contributed to a long-term increase in social isolation in the United States.
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The new findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that, on average, the size of people’s discussion networks – those with whom people discuss important matters– is 12% larger amongst mobile phone users, 9% larger for those who share photos online, and 9% bigger for those who use instant messaging. The diversity of people’s core networks – their closest and most significant confidants – tends to be 25% larger for mobile phone users, 15% larger for basic internet users, and even larger for frequent internet users, those who use instant messaging, and those who share digital photos online.
The survey was conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, led by Keith N. Hampton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication and the Pew Internet Project.
Read More: -NMI Editor, New Media Institute