from an expert in the field:
Dr. Gregory Jantz (
www.drgregoryjantz.com), is the author of #hooked: The
Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking (Siloam, 2012).
Should voting be
THE ANSWER ISN’ T
rocket science; it’s social sci-
ence. Observe a group of
people at a bus stop, in line
for an event, at a restaurant
or even around your family
room or dinner table. Instead
of interacting with those around them, chances are
high that many are studiously ignoring the people
in their immediate vicinity in favor of a mobile
device. Society is becoming digitally drenched.
According to recent studies, anywhere from 95 to
98 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are online, with
the majority using social media. The percentage of
people online in older age groups isn’t as high, but
it’s increasing. Social interactions are being trans-
lated into digital data points.
Some may argue that social media help people
to be more social. It is true that people, especially
women, use social networking to keep connected
to family and friends, but what does that connection consist of? Captions under pictures? Snippets
of thought no bigger than 140 characters? A
truncated, alphabet soup of letters that must be
decoded before being understood? The digital
pool we swim in can be miles wide, but in reality
it’s often only inches deep.
Real social connection simply requires more
depth, made up of conversations, verbal give-and-
takes where thoughts and opinions are exchanged.
Deeper connection is face-to-face, body-to-body,
with the non-verbal conversation so vital to true
understanding. Much of social media is written.
There are no expressions or gestures or body lan-
guage to help enlighten. Real emotions can get lost
in the translation to cartoonish emoticons.
Percentage reflects votes
received by November 15, 2012.
laws a good idea?
YES: 94% NO: 6%
votes received by
October 31, 2012.
from an expert in the field:
Keith N. Hampton is an associate professor in the School of Communication
and Information at Rutgers University (
http://comminfo.rutgers.edu), and a past
chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Communication and
Information Technologies (
CONCERN ABOUT social
media use is the latest exam-
ple of the skepticism that
accompanies the widespread
adoption of most new tech-
nologies. Socrates, the Greek philosopher, argued
that the written word threatened the intimacy and
knowledge that come from communicating in per-
son. In the late 1800s, some American scientists
called for a prohibition on the use of electric
streetlights, as they were believed to corrupt the
morals of the young.
Between 2009 and 2012 I collaborated with
the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American
Life Project to collect data on large, representative
samples of American adults to measure how the
use of social media was related to participation in
public life and interactions with family, acquaintances and close friends. The goal was to provide
a series of snapshots of how most adults use social
media and how it affects their everyday lives. The
findings provide little evidence that the use of
social media makes people less social.
When we examined friendship in the tradi-
tional sense—not “Facebook friends,” but the pres-
ence of real friends—we found that social media
users do not have more or fewer friends than other
people. However, Internet users in general, and
Facebook users in particular, do have a larger
number of close relationships. On average, Internet
users have about 14 percent more close friends,
and someone who uses Facebook a few times per
day averages 9 percent more close relationships
than other Internet users.
Opinions expressed are those of
the individuals or organizations
represented and are presented
to foster discussion. Costco and
The Costco Connection take no
position on any Debate topic.