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 http://home.isr.umich.edu.
Read or download a full copy of The Generation X Report at http://bit.ly/GenXWinter2013
Diane Swanbrow | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.umich.edu
Further Reports about: emerging technologies > Gen FTO > Gen Xers > Generation X > personal networks > Social Impacts > social network > Social Research > social science > traditional personal networks > young adults
More articles from Social Sciences:
New research identifies why young adults return to the parental home
12.11.2013 | University of Southampton
Hartz IV reform did not reduce unemployment in Germany
07.11.2013 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
A genetic defect protects mice from infection with influenza viruses
A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Pathogens points out that mice lacking a protein called Tmprss2 are no longer affected by certain flu viruses.
The discovery was made by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig in collaboration with colleagues from Göttingen and ...
The Light: Global study gets underway with online user survey
Light has a fundamental impact on our sense of well-being and performance. In cooperation with Zumtobel, a supplier of lighting solutions, Fraunhofer IAO has launched a global user survey of lighting quality in offices. The objective is to identify the best lighting conditions for a variety of spaces and lighting ...
Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived.
Physicists at the University of Washington and Stony Brook University in New York believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.
But here’s the catch: One couldn’t actually ...
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born.
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The young ...
06.12.2013 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
06.12.2013 | Life Sciences
05.12.2013 | Event News
04.12.2013 | Event News
12.11.2013 | Event News