A new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals some interesting details about social networking users, debunking the myth that people who hang on Facebook a lot tend to have less real-life friends and contacts.
Someone who uses Facebook several times per day, the study found, has on average “9% more close, core ties in their overall social network compared with other internet users.” Furthermore, Facebook users tend to get more emotional support, companionship as well as instrumental aid (meaning they’re more likely to get help when sick, etc). Finally, Facebook users tend to friend other users with whom they’ve actually met in real life; the average Facebook user has never met only 7% of his/hers Facebook friends.
Since the study was conducted during the November 2010 elections, it revealed that Facebook users also tend to be more politically active than other internet users. A Facebook user that interacts with the site multiple times per day was two and half times more likely to attend a political rally, 43% more likely to have said they would vote, and 57% more likely to persuade someone on their vote.
The study also shows that Facebook is, by far, the most engaging social platform out there, as 52% of Facebook users engage with the site daily. For comparison, 33% of Twitter users engage with the service every day, while only 7% of MySpace and 6% of LinkedIn users do the same.
The report is based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from October 20 to November 28, 2010 on a sample of 2,255 adults, age 18 and older.