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Does Using Facebook Make You More Trusting?

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If you are a Facebook user, you are more trusting, have more close friends and are more politically engaged than those who don’t. At least, that’s according to a recent study from Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

A survey of 2,200+ adults found that those who use social networking sites like Facebook have higher measures of social well-being. When it comes to trust, Facebook users are 43% more likely than non-users and three times more likely than non-Internet users to think that others can be trusted. In addition, people who regularly use Facebook found that they have closer ties in their social networks than other Internet users and receive more emotional support.

The average number of Facebook friends in the study’s sampling was 229. Of this number, 22% were connections from high school, 12% extended family, 10% coworkers and the remainder consisted of coworkers, college friends, immediate family, voluntary groups and neighbors.

On any given day, this is what Facebook account holders do on the site:

  • 15% update their own status
  • 22% comment on another’s post or status
  • 20% comment on another user’s photos
  • 26% “Like” another user’s content
  • 10% send another user a private message

Professor Keith Hampton, the lead author of the report says,

“There has been a great deal of speculation about the impact of social networking site use on people’s social lives, and much of it has centered on the possibility that these sites are hurting users’  relationships and pushing them away from participating in the world. We’ve found the exact opposite – that people who use sites like Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be involved in civic and political activities.” 

It’s a huge generalization to apply these results to the worldwide population of Facebook users, but it certainly is interesting to see how social media is having an impact on our social relations. Even though all of the communication is done virtually, Facebook does have the amazing ability to connect those people from our pasts that we probably never would’ve otherwise. That alone is pretty empowering. 

Do you think that your online social network makes you more trusting?






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