Will Social Media Improve Life In the Future?

Pew looks at social media in 2020

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[ Social Media]

The social benefits of Internet use will outweigh the negatives over the next decade, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University.

While most respondents reported the Internet has both positive and negative effects, 85 percent said it has improved their own social relations and will continue to do so through 2020.

Some 85% agreed with the statement:

"In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage and other relationships, I see that the Internet has mostly been a positive force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future. "


The majority of the people surveyed said the Internet allows people to create and grow bigger social networks than they had been able to have in pre-Internet days. They said they like the advantages offered by the easy sharing of personal details in a one-to-many form that they can control. They said that over the next decade people will continue to invest themselves in building communities via these personal broadcasts.

Some survey participants pointed out that geography is no longer an obstacle and the Internet is also eliminating some or all of the constraints of time and cost when it comes to human connection and sharing.

In addition, some participants said technology will continue to change how we live our lives at home and at work, and that "virtual friends" in more developed social networks will become more common in the future. They said the definitions of "privacy" and "friendship" are changing.

Some 14 percent pointed out the negatives of the connections people are generating online. These included observations that people lose time online that could be spent in face-to-face relationships; social networks can be a distraction; online relationships are not deep and meaningful; the Internet allows people to silo themselves and incite more intolerance.

Here are some responses by those surveyed by Pew:

"The internet has actually helped with human interaction by providing a wider range of ways to communicate such as Twitter and Facebook. These allow some interactions that are better not done face-to-face. And the internet frees up more time for social interaction by making things like shopping faster." William Webb, head of research and development, Ofcom

"Both answers are true. Spending more time online and being more wired to each other via various devices comes at the expense of real-time, deep, meaningful human interaction. But, when you’re really busy and don’t have enough time to see, call or visit with friends it’s nice to use the social networking tools to be better able to keep tabs on or ‘give tabs to’ people in your social network." -Joshua Freeman, director of interactive services, Columbia University Information Technology

Will Social Media Improve Life In the Future?
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  • http://blog.webpro.in Bharati Ahuja

    Social media surely in the long run is going to have a positive influence and will surely get better by the current drawbacks being eliminated and the features becoming more secure and personal.

    I think this will surely serve as a very good platform for interaction with eachother sans the drawbacks of face to face communication.

    Sometimes distance and time that you get to interact on this platform gives a sense of objectivity and understanding that lacks when you are face to face.

    But again real time interactions have their own plus points so there has to be a balance else we will be categorized as Real time social and virtually social.

  • http://www.omaralam.tv Omar Alam

    For all the issues that people make with social media (“it’s not a real face to face connection”…”some people you only talk to once or twice”…”it takes too much time to post, tweet, update my status, record videos”…etc), it has in fact created a faster way to communicate in large scale. Not just for biz, but for personal life as well.

    It used to be “call to see what I or we are doing”, then “email to see what I or we are doing”, to “send me a text or message me on IM to see what I or we are doing”. Now you have “get in touch with me via social networks to see what I or we are doing” and a more proactive style is “come see what I or we are doing, going, want to do via all the social media I am part of”.

    Social Media is an extrovert, sales-marketing person, entrepreneur, hustler’s dream. An open channel to unlimited markets, connections with friends, and to “virtually” be everywhere at once.

    Things are great now, but are slowly evolving into awesome.

  • http://www.zagoumenov.com Alex Zagoumenov

    To me social media is about the fact of sharing value. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. are just tool to help us do so. I don’t usually like meaningless status updates, however, when they include something of value to me, I’m all for it. As for 2020, it’s the matter of HOW we learn to use those tools. Are we becoming better people (more caring, honest, open, etc.) as a result of using social networking tool?

  • http://jonspade.posterous.com John Landry

    A friend shared this article on facebook today. The global consciousness….

    I wrote this piece yesterday:


  • http://www.theexpertseocompany.com Andrew

    I think social media has its place in our society but as far as making our lives better, that’s still open for debate I think.

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  • http://hubpages.com/profile/dame+scribe Gin

    I agree that there may be some ‘circles of cliques’ as the saying goes, ‘birds of a feather stick together’ , positive and negative. Social networking gives one the opportunity to interact with others from another country. May improve social skills for the introvert. It would be great if these communication tools can be provided for those in recovering conflict zones to better provide assistance and improve their lives and not just our own. Great survey results! :)

  • http://www.websitetemplates.bz Website Templates.bz

    I think talks and discussions like this one has appeared even a few decades ago, and people started worring about communication issues.

    Ever since a cell phone has appeared – people lacked live talk.
    The more we go, the less we talk face-to face.
    People travel, people work, people are busy.

    The future may seem even scary in a way, but we all are the ones who make this kind of life be in progress, because we use those cells, internet, social networks, and so on…

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