Social Networks Cause Death To Our Children – let the (un-substantiated) backlash begin
I’m only going to comment on this story to say four things:
1) Hitwise_UK has demonstrated that the average age of a Facebook user is 26 and a Twitter (and other microblogging application) user is 31. Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site in the UK. Where are the children?
2) Web-use is not binary: you can go online and you can come offline too. Engaging with the internet does not mean you drop out of society. On the contrary, there is substantial evidence that Web users are more politically and socially engaged that non-users because the medium facilitates connection and collaboration. Further, the trend of Web2.0 is to connect people online for interaction offline.
3) Television is a passive medium. The Web is a participatory medium. Television makes us drones, the internet and other participatory media encourage active learning. We use our brains more online, not less.
4) Read The Internet Paradox Revisited (pdf). It’s a re-analysis of the 1998 paper The Internet Paradox (pdf), which argued that people become more depressed, isolated and lonely when they go online. In the later study – conducted by the same team and with the same sample as the original – the effects of the original disappeared. Instead, it indicated that social circles increase by an average of six people, rather than decrease. The researchers argued that the first study suffered because the Web was relatively new; its use wasn’t widespread. Now it is.
I’m done. I’ve said it on various social networks, and now I’ve documented my feelings here. If you want more, read Ben Goldacre’s piece.
~ by aleks on February 25, 2009.