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SOC356Y1 (48)

tech readin 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Barry Wellman

social connectivity in america: changes in adult friendship network size from 2002- 2007 americans are in a panic that social connectivity has drastically declined in the US. even though most americans are increasingly using internet to connect with others, media, public. many blame it for pulling americans away from physical friends, neighbors, and civic involvement. this survey asks 2 questions has the number of friends changed in recent years? is the extent of internet use associated with the extent of these friendships? has social connectivity declined? a perennial question many people have raised different reasons: industrialization, capitalism, socialism, urbanization, bureaucratization. some even blamed technology, especially invention of trains, cars, telephones, radios and TV. TV keeping people from community involvement. noted that americans close confidants shifted away from friends and neighbors to closer kin and spouses. in the past decade, the internet has become the hot topic in the debate about social isolation and connectivity in america. Karut and co. claims that there is a decline in social involvement and an increase in loneliness and depression among a group of internet newbies. when NYtimes put this on the front page, the media panic was on. many say internet is powerful and effective in spreading information but insist that people should meet in person. british media says that due to these people always indoor while being online, they are not encountering a range of people in person, and this lack of diverse contact could compromise immune function, increasing morbidity and morality. though they didn’t provide any systematic data to support it. in contrast, there is data showing a positive association between internet use and contact with friends. furthermore, the addition of the internet and mobile phone communication to traditional facetoface means there is more overall communication between friends and relatives now than before. research studies have also shown time spent with friends since they started using internet at a minimum remained the same, or only some increased. the more people use internet, the more social contact they have with their friends internet adds a new variety in developing and maintaining ties between meetings, both local and long distance. internet provides opportunities for forming and developing new friendships that usually continue in person or by telephone. internet users have a more diverse range of friends compared to non-users. how have internet use and friendship changed in this decade. ‘an internet year is like a dog year’ highlights the fast pace of internet development. the rise of broadband internet provided more speed hence, giving people more time to stay indoors, online. in addition with twitter, facebook, myspace etc. for the worse, they give more reasons to stay online indoors, which avoid in person contact with friends. for the
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