Pew Report: Internet to Revolutionize Social Interaction

By Baumann, Michael | Information Today, October 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Pew Report: Internet to Revolutionize Social Interaction


Baumann, Michael, Information Today


Nothing has consumed the popular imagination and changed our lives in the past 30 years as the internet has. It's impossible to ignore the impact that it's had on commerce, communication, and social interaction since 1980.

According to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in cooperation with Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center, 85% of experts polled in the survey say the internet will be a positive social force in the future, compared to 14% who said it would have a negative effect.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The report, the fourth "Future of the Internet" survey, is based on an online questionnaire given to nearly 900 specially selected experts. In the questionnaire, the respondents are asked to evaluate 10 "tension pairs," choosing the more likely of two predictive statements representing opposing outcomes on a similar theme. In addition to predicting an ongoing positive impact of the internet in general, the survey respondents tackled more specific topics, with a particular emphasis on the impact of the internet on social interaction.

"The net is about people connecting online, for commerce, politics, and personally, and we already see that enhances real-life relationships. Location-based social networking, in particular, will be a big part of our lives," says craigslist founder Craig Newmark in the survey report.

For each tension pair, respondents chose one of the two options, but the questions were designed to leave room for nuanced answers. As a result, even though the vast majority of respondents agreed that the internet would have a positive impact on human interactions, many of them had reservations. For instance, Robert Ferrell, a former systems security specialist at the U.S. Department of the Interior, reports that internet communication might help people overcome physical or emotional obstacles to social interaction in the future.

"If--and I believe this will happen eventually--the tendency to make remarks and adopt positions you would never consider in person can be overcome, online society stands a very real chance of taking interpersonal relationships to a level never before possible," according to Ferrell in the report. "Balancing out the anonymity and lack of physical contact is the ability to mask a plethora of medical and psychological conditions that until now have proven serious handicaps to social interaction. No one stutters or stammers on Twitter."

On the other hand, those who did not agree that the internet will benefit our social interactions worry about the predisposition of internet friendships and relationships to be more superficial than in-person relationships.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Pew Report: Internet to Revolutionize Social Interaction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?