Is Social Networking Killing Our Social Lives?

A study commissioned by explores just how socially better off our lives are with the use of social networking.  The statistics are concerning to say the least.

Out of the more than 6,000 people who took part in the study, 39% of Americans, 36% of British and 35% of citizens from Germany say they spend more time socialising via the Internet than in real life.  Nearly 20% of people said they preferred to communicate via online services or text than by phone or face-to-face.  And around a quarter have missed important moments because they were distracted by trying to share those very moments online.  Talk about irony.

This seems to be based around two separate concepts:

  • The exagerrated feeling of loneliness when it comes to social media, as nearly one third (31%) of people admitted to feeling alone, with 35% looking to increase their circles of friends.
  • The idea of auditing and controlling your own online persona to appear more interesting to others. For instance, nearly 25% of American respondants admitted to exaggerating or lying about who they've met or what they've done. 

The social picture is not all doom and gloom, as 84% say social networking is a great tool for staying in touch with long-distance friends, 75% said its benefits were strongest in reconnecting with old acquaintances, and 83% say its good for helping people who are shy and lonely to meet new people.  That last statistic is sort of a bittersweet one, as it exemplifies the issue of social networking slowly eroding the concept of having an outgoing social life.

The rest of the statistics are open to interpretation, depending on where you stand on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.  24% of Americans say they accept friend requests from people they don't actually like or even care about, and one third say they are more likely to meet someone online than in the real world.

Both an insight into how fundamental social networking has become in the public conscience, and some of the most socially harrowing numbers we've seen.

Source: Marketwire (Press Release)