Did you think too much facebooking will thwart your chances of making friends in the real world? Contrary to popular fears that cultivating Facebook friends will harm people’s ability to make friends offline, research suggests that users of social networking sites have higher measures of social well-being.
According to results of a Pew Research Center (US) survey, Facebook users are more trusting, have more close friends, and are more politically-engaged.
“There has been a great deal of speculation about the impact of social networking site usage on the social lives of people, and much of it has centered on the possibility that these sites are hurting users’ relationships and pushing them away from participating in the world,” lead author of the report Keith Hampton said.
“We’ve found the exact opposite — that people who use sites like Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be involved in civic and political activities,” he added.
Last fall, researchers surveyed 2,255 adults about their use of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The research indicates a sea change in social relations. Facebook users who sign in to the site several times a day are 43 percent more likely than other Internet users and more than three times more likely than non-Internet users to feel that other people can be trusted. The emotional support and companionship that frequent Facebook users get is equivalent to about half the total support that they receive from their spouses or live-in partners.