Facebook Strengthens Relationships

Those 'friends' you don't know may serve a purpose
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2010 11:33 AM CST
Facebook Strengthens Relationships
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) – Facebook "friendships" may seem superficial—but they actually strengthen social ties, a study suggests. “Facebook is not supplanting face-to-face interactions between friends, family, and colleagues,” a professor behind the study tells Reuters. After surveying 900 college students and recent grads about their Facebook activities, researchers found “evidence that social media afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy, and community.”

They noted that the fact that young adults' "friends" increasingly include their co-workers and family in addition to their true friends adds a twist. "Facebook engagement is not uniform. It's constantly evolving and in a state of flux, and that presents a challenge." As for how we present ourselves: “For women the content tends to be more affectionate” and they’re “especially interested in using it for connection," said the professor. "For men, it's more functional”—guys tend to post images of hobbies and pop-culture links.
(Read more Facebook stories.)

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