How Social Is Social Networking?

Written by Science Knowledge on 8:00 AM

With more than 220 million people worldwide using online networks such as Facebook and MySpace, the capacity to interact with people around the world has rapidly expanded. Such developments open up new ways to build social networks. Simply by going online, we can find out what our friends are up to, go through their photo albums and know what is on their minds—even when they are on the other side of the planet. Do such virtual social networks contribute to better health the way real networks do? Some speculate that Facebook is particularly valuable for those who are less mobile (such as older adults or the disabled) and therefore represents an excellent way to avoid social isolation. There are also warnings, however, that in some cases, rather than reducing social isolation, tools such as Facebook could actually add to it. In a survey of 184 MySpace users, media researchers Rob Nyland, Raquel Marvez and Jason Beck of Brigham Young University found that the most frequent users reported being less involved in the communities around them than the least frequent users. This assessment suggests that virtual-world networking can become a substitute for real-world engagement.

Source of Information :  Scientific American Mind September-October 2009

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In its broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In its more usual restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines: natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life), and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies. These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being experimented for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions.


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