Blogging Alone – Social Isolation and New Technology from Pew

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about any of the Pew Reports coming out. I’d like to mention that when I was finishing the copy edits on my book, they replaced every instance of “Pew says…” with “The Center says…” so, sorry about that. I vacillate about feeling like Pew tells it like it is, offering research instead of punditry about internet topics. Their researched conclusions so closely match many of my (knee-jerk) own, I wonder if they’re not more internet boosters than I can see with my own biases and blinders. The upshot of this survey: increased internet use is not making Americans more isolated.

In any case, their new report Pew Internet Social Isolation and New Technology is my second lengthy read for today. Be sure to read the interesting side note The GSS Controversy in which they consider that using the verb “discuss” to refer to people communicating with others may have eliminated non-talking options form people’s minds [i.e. texting and emailing].

Some have worried that internet use limits people’s participation in their local communities, but we find that most internet activities have little or a positive relationship to local activity. For instance, internet users are as likely as anyone else to visit with their neighbors in person. Cell phone users, those who use the internet frequently at work, and bloggers are more likely to belong to a local voluntary association, such as a youth group or a charitable organization.

these are not my links

But I do have a backlog of things to tell you about and only a medium amount of time to tell them to you, so I will be a little brief. I have been in New Hampshire peeking in at some of the election stuff and visiting with friends and now I’m really going to get going work and travelwise starting tomorrow. While I did my reading wrap-up here, I did my swimming and guestroom wrap-ups over at This year I may try to revive my “libraries visited” list now that I’ve got Flickr to help me out with the organizing, but it’s too early to tell if that will really work.

I’ve been to one library this year so far, the all-new Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough MA. The library was way the heck up a hill and in a teeny building when I was growing up and we went there all the time. The librarians were always encouraging me to read whatever I wanted and my Mom stopped in often to get the new Ed McBain mysteries. The library outgrew its space and an all-new library was built and opened in 2005. I went there with my Mom yesterday and said hi to the library director who said she reads my blog (hi Maureen!). The last time I went to the old library as a patron I was probably in my late teens and I don’t think they even had computers yet. The new library is huge and lovely and has wifi. It’s also walking distance from the elementary school which is good news all around. It was fun to pop in there and get a real eyeful of how things have changed.

So here are a few things I thought you might be interested in, and my apologies for the brevity.