Hello, all my friends and family IRL!
When social media first gained attention, I heard many people scoff that these online connections couldn’t possibly be real friends. Some even used “Facebook friend” as a synonym for shallowness, fearing people might trade face-to-face interaction for a virtual life online.
But many years, re-tweets, meet-ups, event invitations and birthday wishes later, the majority of the people I know now consider at least some of their online friends to be extended family. Which made me wonder — does social media actually encourage people to connect IRL, or “in real life”?
A Pew Internet and American Life Project report recently found that Facebook users have more close relationships and receive more support than others. They’re also more likely to revive dormant relationships and use social networking to keep up with close social ties.