business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll offers some reassurance to folks who may worry that social media and online networking are replacing face-to-face social experiences.

According to the Journal, "More than two-thirds of Americans have a social media profile and shop online, and more than 60% pay bills online, the survey found. But people are still nearly as likely to have frequent family dinners as they were 15 years ago."

Some specifics from the poll report:

• "68% said they had a personal profile on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter. That is up from 51% in January 2011 - and up from 21% as recently as April, 2008, when the Pew Research Center asked a similar question."

• "58% said they had a family dinner at least five times a week - about the same as the 60% who said so in June, 1999 …. 69% of Americans said they knew their neighbors well, compared with 73% who said so in 1999 … Among adults between 18 and 49 years old, 68% of people with a social media profile said they knew their neighbors well, compared with 57% of people without a social media profile."

• "Social-media activity remains heavily skewed by generation in the current poll: 90% of people age 18 to 34 had a social media profile compared with 37% of people over 65."

In other words, folks who worry that all this social networking was going to lead to the end of western civilization as we know it can relax a little bit. Texting with neighbors or communicating with them via social media doesn't mean you won't talk to them while hanging out in the driveway.

It's an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: