A new survey has revealed that the Internet and e-mail contribute towards strengthening and expanding social ties among the people. This has been revealed by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. It had earlier been said that social relations get affected as a result of the Internet.
With the help of the Internet, people are able to maintain active contact with sizeable social networks even though many of the people in those networks do not live close to them, a Pew Internet release said. The report, 'The Strength of Internet Ties', highlights how e-mail supplements, rather than replaces, the communication people have with others in their network.
E-mail gains in importance in the case of a large and diverse network, according to Jeffrey Boase, a University of Toronto sociologist who co-authored the report.
One of the surveys covered in the report shows that 45% of the Internet users, about 60 million Americans, say the Internet has played an important or crucial role in helping them deal with at least one major life decision in the previous two years. That is a 33% increase from a similar survey in early 2002. The Internet serves a variety of functions like getting online medical help to finding a new job.
These survey findings fit into a larger transformation in social relations that sociologist Barry Wellman of the University of Toronto has called the rise of 'networked individualism'. He says users of modern technology are less tied to local groups and increasingly tied to looser and more geographically scattered networks.