Second to None
A recent study from the Center for the Digital Future at USC found that 43% of online networkers felt as strongly about their online friends as they do about their real-world friends. Among the study’s other highlights are:
- Online networkers made an average of 4.6 new virtual pals in the past year
- Those surveyed had met an average of 1.6 of the friends they had made online in the real-world
- 40% of the users surveyed were using the web to stay in touch with people
- 37.7% felt that the web was helping them communicate more with friends and family
- 2006 marks the first time that an equal number of women and men are online
The director of the centre comments that:
“More than a decade after the portals of the worldwide web opened to the public, we are now witnessing the true emergence of the internet as the powerful personal and social phenomenon we knew it would become.”
While I am not a Second Lifer, I do blog, stay connected to friends through instant messaging and use tools like Flickr for posting photos. I have friends that I interact with entirely online and can feel a sense of community with bloggers who I read and enter into a dialogue with through comments on their posts.
Far be it for me to comment on the richness of other’s online lives, but it is clear to me that the emerging landscape of online networking broadens the opportunities we have to expand our spheres of influences, discover communities of like-minded individuals (influencers) and explore ideas, tools and places (real or virtual) we can use to engage with the world.
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