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Hampton, K., Goulet, L., Rainie, L., Purcell, K. (2011). Social networking sites and our lives. Pew Internet & American Life Research Center

Questions have been raised about the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. Do these technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project decided to examine social networking sites in a survey that explored people’s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement.

The findings presented here paint a rich and complex picture of the role that digital technology plays in people’s social worlds. Wherever possible, we seek to disentangle whether people’s varying social behaviors and attitudes are related to the different ways they use social networking sites, or to other relevant demographic characteristics, such as age, gender and social class.


Hampton, Keith N.

Session Goulet, Lauren

Lauren ("Loi") is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on communication technologies and social networks. In her dissertation work Lauren explores how social network site use and user mobility are...

Rainie, Lee

Lee Rainie is the Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a non-profit, non–partisan "fact tank" that studies the social impact of the internet. The Project has issued more than 250 reports based on its surveys that examine people's online activities...

Purcell, Kristen

Kristen Purcell is the associate director for research at Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rutgers University, where she specialized in mass media and cognition. At Pew, Kristen leads the design, implementation and analysis of...

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