This bothers me. Facebook is doing a great job connecting our disconnected lives. But’s it’s doing a horrible job connecting us to the people who live next door. I’ve had this idea for quite some time that Facebook should automate a process that allows us to “fan” the block that we live on, if we want to, so we can connect with our neighbors. If anyone can nail hyperlocal and bring neighborhoods closer together, it’s Facebook— they’ve got the profiles. But it just doesn’t seem that this is on their list of priorities. I’d like to see neighbors come together for block parties, neighborhood watches, clean-ups, etc.. I’d like to see the internet used to make your immediate environment a better, safer, and healthier place to live. I’d like to see Facebook introduce me to new people who live right down the street who just may be interested in the same things I’m interested in.
Also, don’t forget to follow Pew on tumblr.
New research on social networking sites
We have a brand-new report out today that starts to explore the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. By the numbers:
- 79% of American adults use the internet, and 59% of online adults use at least one social networking site.
- Among social networking site users in 2010, 92% are on Facebook; 29% use MySpace, 18% used LinkedIn and 13% use Twitter.
- Specifically looking at Facebook, then, we found that the average Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends. The chart above shows the breakdown of those relationships.
- The average age of adult social networking site users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010.
The report looks at how people’s trust, personal relationships, and civic and political involvement are connected to their use of social network sites and other technologies. A few of the headlines:
- The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American.
- Internet users get more support from their social ties, and Facebook users get the most support.
- Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people.
- MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view.
More than block parties, imagine what we could do for good if we could connect locally with neighbors.