Facebook makes you more trusting, gives you more real friends

The Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, Calif.

This is all according to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Pew reports that while the average Internet user is twice as likely as a non-Internet user to feel that people can be trusted, the average Facebook user is 43 percent more likely than that to be trusting.

Facebook users also scored slightly higher than average Americans when it came to having close relationships and when it came to getting emotional support from other people. This contradicts a popular stereotype that Facebook is the domain of false relationships or that it's a place where meaningless chatter between people who really don't care at all about one another.

We speak with the lead author of the study, Keith Hampton, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He says, contrary to the stereotype one might have of social media users as insular, "We didn't find any evidence that they tend to cocoon with people who are more similar to themselves. In fact, we found users of some platforms, like MySpace, are actually more likely to be able to consider alternative points of view."

We also talk with Nicole Ellison, associate professor of telecommunications, information studies, and media at Michigan State University. She says that studies like this one from Pew indicate that the standards for human interaction are changing. We should no longer think of face-to-face contact as the gold standard and accept that digital interaction may be just as meaningful, if not more so.

Also in this program, Ben Kuchera joins us for a 20-second review of the long-anticipated game Duke Nukem Forever. Ben's the games editor at Ars Technica. He says the game is just a big rotten stinking piece of worthless garbage.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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