Report: Email, Social Networking Makes Us Cold and Lonely

Paul Lilly

Time Magazine earlier this week ran an interesting piece arguing that email may be hurting our off-line relationships, and before you dismiss the whole idea has hogwash, take a look at some of the studies they've dug up.

Researchers from Duke University, for example, found that from 1985 to 2004, the percentage of people who said they have no one to discuss important matters with tripled, jumping to 25 percent. In the same study, researchers found that Americans had a third fewer friends than two decades ago.

Time Magazine then went on to cite another study, this time by the University of Michigan, in which it was discovered that college students have much less empathy now than in decades past. The reason, Time argues, could be that email and social networking has blunted the practice of building real friendships off-line.

"Technology has made us much more efficient but much less effective," said Gregory Northcraft, a professor of executive leadership at the University of Illinois who specializes in workplace collaboration. "Something is being gained, but something is being lost. The something gained is time, and the something lost is the quality of relationships. And quality of relationships matters."

Read the whole argument here (and there are other studies referenced in Time's write-up), and then hit the jump to sound off.

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