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Face-to-face and virtual sociality

Does Facebook make you less social? Not necessarily. Not if you’re American, according to a NYT report.

Hundreds of daily updates come from friends on Facebook and Twitter, but do people actually feel closer to each other?

It turns out the size of the average American’s social circle is smaller today than 20 years ago, as measured by the number of self-reported confidants in a person’s life. Yet contrary to popular opinion, use of cellphones and the Internet is not to blame, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

In fact, people who regularly use digital technologies are more social than the average American and more likely to visit parks and cafes, or volunteer for local organizations, according to the study, which was based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 2,512 adults living in the continental United States.

The study found some less-than-social behavior, however. People who use social networks like Facebook or Linkedin are 30 percent less likely to know their neighbors and 26 percent less likely to provide them companionship.

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