I love the various studies that come out of the Pew’s Internet and America Life Project, probably underscoring once again that I’m a big geek. This week’s report on The Future of Social Relations was very interesting. In the overview of the study, the authors stated:
Most of people who participated in the survey were effusive in their praise of the social connectivity already being leveraged globally online. They said humans’ use of the internet’s capabilities for communication – for creating, cultivating, and continuing social relationships – is undeniable. Many enthusiastically cited their personal experiences as examples, and several noted that they had met their spouse through internet-borne interaction.
They asked respondents to agree or disagree with statements such as:
“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.”
In trying to project forward ten years, I’m wondering how I would respond to that statement. By that point, I’ll likely be an “empty nester” and could even potentially be a grandmother (CatholicGrandma.com anyone?). Who knows what my little corner of the world will look like, and it’s hard to imagine that I could be any more wired than I am these days. I will say that if I were to comment on the statement today, I would agree. I look at the ways in which I use the Internet to communicate with family and friends and see many benefits. I am also connected with countless friends around the world who bring me great joy and emotional support – I may never meet them in person, but their friendship feels like a real, tangible part of my life.
Will the Internet enhance or detract from communications in the future? I guess the jury is still out, but in my book, the future looks bright.