Online friends may not mean much in real world

While we marketers and brand architects are enthusiastically embracing all forms of social networking, it’s curious to see new studies that reveal some of its shortcomings.

Perhaps it’s no real surprise, but an international psychology journal recently found that an individual’s success in the virtual world doesn’t appear to carry over into the real world. In other words, spending a lot of time online through instant messaging and social network sites was not linked to having a larger number of “offline” friends.

“Moreover,” says an LA Times report on the study, ” the relationships of people who socialized online weren’t any closer or stronger than people who didn’t socialize online.”

Previous studies were mixed, with some suggesting that online networking had a negative effect on social life, while others believed it broadened social circles.

The idea that social media may have little effect on real-life relationships may prompt us to wonder about the effectiveness of our branding and marketing efforts that rely on Facebook, etc. to spread the word.


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Robert Hyndman

can be reached at his Laguna Beach studio, 949.497.3179, or by using the form on the Contact Me page.
April 2011
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