By Dev Joshi and John Walker, Research Analysts, Connected Nation
Social networking is one of the most popular activities on the Internet today. Many critics question, though, whether this rise in social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace is beneficial to society. On the one hand, some amazing things have happened through social networking (like the 2009 “Twitter Revolution” in Iran, or the way people used SNS as a lifeline to reach loved ones and offer donations after the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan).
Some, though, have voiced concerns that the growth in social networking sites has come at the detriment of interpersonal relationships, and SNS have been linked with issues ranging from teen depression to narcissistic traits. None can deny, though, that social networking is growing and is no longer just the domain of teens and twenty-somethings.
Connected Nation’s 2010 Residential Technology Assessment shows that nearly one-half of all adults living in states and territories served by Connected Nation (48%, or nearly 39 million adults) communicate with others through SNS. According to our research, adults age 18 to 34 are significantly more likely to use SNS than those 35 or older.
A recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows similar results – according to its study, 47% of adults use social networking sites, a figure that has doubled since 2008. The report also shows that adult SNS users are aging, with SNS use among 18-22 year olds decreasing over the past two years while use among adults 35 and older rose.
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