TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: It's Lonely Out There/Connections Fray in Wired America

It's Lonely Out There/Connections Fray in Wired America

Monty Solomon (
Sat, 24 Jun 2006 02:29:08 -0400

It's lonely out there
Connections fray in wired America, study finds

By Scott Allen, Globe Staff | June 23, 2006

Americans don't have as many close friends as they used to.

We're networking on, sharing photos and text messaging on
our cellphones, and blogging at all hours. But a major national survey
being released today shows that the average number of people with whom
Americans discuss important matters has dropped from three to two in
just two decades, a steep falloff in confidants that startled the

The study by sociologists at Duke University and the University of
Arizona provides powerful evidence for the argument that the country
is becoming increasingly socially isolated even as cellphones, the
Internet, and other technology make people more interconnected. The
authors found that fully one-quarter of Americans say they have no one
with whom to discuss their most important personal business.

The study is a vindication for the Harvard author of "Bowling Alone,"
the provocative book published six years ago that portrayed an
increasingly lonely society based on trends from the decline of dinner
parties to lower voter turnout and falling participation in bowling
leagues. The title became a catchphrase for modern alienation, fueling
a passionate debate over whether the 'good old days' are really
behind us.

The new work, carried out by researchers skeptical of author Robert
Putnam's theory, found the isolationist trend extends to people's
closest relationships.

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