Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Social networking: Gen Xers connect online as often as they socialize in person

Young adults in Generation X are as likely to connect with friends, family and co-workers online as they are in person, according to a University of Michigan study.

In a typical month, adults in their late 30s report that they engaged in about 75 face-to-face contacts or conversations, compared to about 74 electronic contracts through personal emails or social media.

"Given the speed of emerging technologies, it is likely that electronic contacts will continue to grow in the years ahead, eventually exceeding face-to-face interactions," says Jon D. Miller, author of the latest issue of The Generation X Report.

"But the young adults in Generation X are currently maintaining a healthy balance between personal and electronic social networking."

Miller directs the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY) at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). The study has been funded by the National Science Foundation since 1986, and the current report includes responses from 3,027 Gen Xers interviewed in 2011.

According to Miller, studying Gen X social networks is important because these networks, sometimes referred to as "social capital," are a vital component of the quality of life.

"The size and composition of personal networks is both a reflection of cumulative advantage over years and decades, and an indicator of the resources available to get ahead and deal with problems or challenges that may arise," says Miller.

In addition to finding a rough parity between personal and electronic networks, Miller found that young adults who completed bachelors or advanced degrees tended to have larger social networks. He also found that survey participants who did not complete high school relied more heavily on traditional personal networks, and less on electronic networking.

Somewhat surprisingly, males reported more personal contacts than females in the course of a typical month – 86 compared to 65. This difference reflects the larger number of hours men reported spending at work, according to Miller. Young women, on the other hand, were slightly more likely to visit family and friends, attend meetings in the community, and do volunteer work.

Overall, in the course of a typical month, participants reported visiting with family and friends eight times, getting together or having personal conversations with co-workers nearly 60 times, attending meetings of social or community groups four times, and engaging in about three hours of volunteer work.

Looking at electronic networking, females were slightly more active, initiating 76 contacts compared to 71 for males. Overall, in the course of a typical month, participants reported sending 39 non-work emails, using Facebook nearly 23 times, using Twitter four times, Skyping once, and sending digital pictures seven times.

"This is the first generation of Americans to reach adulthood at the beginning of the Electronic Era," says Miller. "So it's understandable that they should show a substantial mix of traditional and electronic networking as they build and maintain the social capital that will help to carry them through their lives."

Established in 1949, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) is the world's largest academic social science survey and research organization, and a world leader in developing and applying social science methodology, and educating researchers and students from around the world. For more information, visit the ISR Web site at

Read or download a full copy of The Generation X Report at

Diane Swanbrow | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>