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Facebook users more trusting, engaged- survey

The survey results shows that Facebook users who access the site many times a day are 43 percent more likely than other internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

Contrary to popular assumption that social networking does more harm than good, a new study has suggested that social media make people more trusting, as well as more socially and politically engaged.

Psychologists have long believed that social networking Web sites, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo, cause users to become isolated, with few close contacts. They also assert that social networks are making younger people more self-centered.

Social networks, in fact, do more good than harm
But conclusion of a survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that people using online social networks are more trusting, have more close relationships and are more socially involved with others compared to those who don't participate in online social media.

“There has been a great deal of speculation about the impact of social networking site use on people’s social lives, and much of it has centered on the possibility that these sites are hurting users’ relationships and pushing them away from participating in the world,” said Keith Hampton, lead author of the report and an assistant professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “We’ve found the exact opposite — that people who use sites like Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be involved in civic and political activities.”

The survey results shows that Facebook users who access the site many times a day are 43 percent more likely than other internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

The survey findings
In the survey of 2,255 American adults, 79 percent respondents said they used the internet and almost 60 percent of those used social networks, which is double the usage rate of 2008.

The survey results shows that Facebook users who access the site many times a day are 43 percent more likely than other internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

Pew says its survey indicates that Facebook users also have more close relationships. They have 9 percent more close ties in their overall social network than other Internet users, the study shows.

The frequent Facebook users also enjoy more social support - both online and offline. In fact, the emotional support and companionship that they get is equivalent to about half the total support that the average American receives from a spouse or live-in partner.

The survey showed that Americans who aren't online rated the total support they receive from others as 75 out of 100, while Facebook users rate their total support as 83 out of 100.

Moreover, Facebook users are also more politically engaged, with more and more attending a political rally or meeting, persuading someone to vote and saying he or she would vote.

“Social networking sites have become increasingly important to people as they find ways to integrate check-ins and updates into the rhythms of their lives,” Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report, said.

“People use them now to stay in touch with their best friends and distant acquaintances alike,” Rainie added. “It’s clear that the world of networked individuals will continue to change as the platforms and populations of users continue to evolve.”

About Facebook
Founded in 2004, Facebook has evolved from a Harvard University start-up to the world’s most dominant social networking website.

With nearly 700 million active users worldwide and rising fast, the Palo Alto-based company allows users to share information related to personal life, education, work, hobbies and interests.

Founded as a private company by Mark Elliot Zuckerberg and classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes while they were still students at Harvard University, Facebook has become a major part of social media these days.