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1 Patrick Oppmann Exploring the Anti-Social Side of Social Media CNN.

com November 22, 2010 Accessed February 23rd, 2012 People walking by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows surrounding Cristin Norine could be excused for thinking that she is working in an office alone or lives in a ground-level apartment in dire need of drapes. She does not look like a prisoner. But for 30 days that's exactly what Norine is. Her "cell" is a large storefront that sat unrented for months until the owner decided to let artists use it as a gallery so it wouldn't look so empty. Norine has moved in donated furniture, exercise equipment and a large-screen computer with a projector overhead so everyone walking by can see as she tweets, updates her Facebook page and Skypes. During her stay no one comes in and Norine never goes outside. Her only contact with other people is through technology. In that regard, Norine says she is not that different from anyone else. "We think we are being social on these gadgets," she said. "And it can be a really great thing when people live in different states, but when you are at dinner or you are trying to have a conversation and you are being distracted by these other things. Or maybe you are just not going out as much because you are staying home and are online." Usually a TV and photography production manager based in Los Angeles, California, Norine ended up in her own personal fishbowl in Portland after a chance meeting with Josh Elliott. Elliott worked in photography in Oregon and the two realized they shared a similar curiosity about the effects that the barrage of new technologies are having on people. Elliott knew about the available storefront and almost overnight, Norine moved in. The Public Isolation Project was born. As she literally X's off the 30 days she is spending cut off from the world, Norine chronicles her experience through her blog On the other side of the glass, Elliott is filming a documentary on their collaboration. They are not anti-technology, Elliott says, just hoping to inspire more conversation about how everything from the internet to iPads are shaping people's lives. "We are accessible 24/7," Elliott says. "Having a cell phone in your pocket you can be called or texted or video chatted at any point. With Facebook you are updating all time. You have friends on Facebook that you have never met, and they know more about what's going on in your life than your mother does who is not on Facebook."

2 Norine puts herself out there in a way that would make the most avid Twitterer or Facebook addict suffer an attack of shyness. She eats, exercises and sleeps in full view of a busy Portland street. With a bathroom as her only private area, she is on almost constant display. Norine's exhibitionism is extreme but hardly unique. Last month, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry held a prize for a contestant to move to the museum for a month and become a living exhibit. Some 1,500 people applied. In 2004, a Malaysian woman set a record for enduring 32 days in a glass box with hundreds of scorpions as company. In 2000, an actress living in a glass house in Chile inspired protests after taking public showers. Elliott says the near total lack of privacy takes a toll on Norine. "Even on a Sunday when she just wants to take a break from this and have a cup of coffee," he said, "There's people coming up and knocking on the window. She just doesn't have any time for herself and I think that's hard." Norine admits she didn't think she would make it past two weeks and has what she calls "the bad days." On day 16 of her blog she writes, "Went to bed before 9 p.m. I wasn't feeling well and was too tired to write. ... I could really use some fresh air." But she says having a routine has made the experiment more bearable. "I get up, I make myself coffee and breakfast and get ready." Norine says. "Some days I'll be working out. Then I get on the computer and do my work -- I try to take a lunch break. I even have people who will come and have lunch with me on the other side of the window." Norine e-mails and Skypes and chats online with anyone who wants to know more about her and the project. Until, she says, the overload sets in. "I'll realize I need to take a break," Norine says. "And I'll go and do something that doesn't have to do with the computer and I can't turn it off. I still hear those dings and I get drawn back to the computer. I definitely have noticed since I have been here that I am addicted!" The project ends on December 1 and Norine says she yearns for human interaction, a good meal and to hear live music. Even if Norine can't wait to leave her self-imposed prison, she and the project have changed the surrounding neighborhood. People who walk by her every day on their way to work stop for a few brief seconds to wave hello. Day laborers awaiting work across the street watch her moving around the living space as if it were a favorite soap opera. New friends pop by and hold notes against the window. A woman who only gives her name as Debra watches Norine intently for several minutes before saying, "I know what it's like: I have an infant and I get stuck in my house all the time and I find myself so hungry for adult conversation."

3 Stefanie Olsen Does Technology Reduce Social Isolation? Bits November 5, 2009 Accessed February 25th, 2012 Hundreds of daily updates come from friends on Facebook and Twitter, but do people actually feel closer to each other? It turns out the size of the average Americans social circle is smaller today than 20 years ago, as measured by the number of self-reported confidants in a persons life. Yet contrary to popular opinion, use of cellphones and the Internet is not to blame, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In fact, people who regularly use digital technologies are more social than the average American and more likely to visit parks and cafes, or volunteer for local organizations, according to the study, which was based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 2,512 adults living in the continental United States. The study found some less-than-social behavior, however. People who use social networks like Facebook or Linkedin are 30 percent less likely to know their neighbors and 26 percent less likely to provide them companionship. Pew asked questions that would get at the heart of the link between social isolation in America and use of digital technologies, with an eye toward debunking earlier thinking that suggested technology caused people to hole up in their pajamas or lose some friendships. Two years ago, a General Social Survey hypothesized that the average American was feeling more socially isolated because of the rise of the Internet and cellphones. That study found that from 1985 to 2004, the number of intimate friendships people reported dropped from three to two. The Pew report confirmed those findings. But it also deflated other data in the previous study that indicated the number of people saying they had no one to confide in had nearly tripled from 1985 to 2004. Pew reported that only 6 percent of the American population fell into that category of isolation with no significant change over the last 25 years. The circle of close friends for mobile phone users tends to be 12 percent larger than for nonusers. People who share online photos or instant messages have 9 percent larger social circles than nonusers.

Pew also confirmed that Americans social networks were becoming less diverse, defined as relationships with people from different backgrounds. But on average, the social circles of cellphone and instant-message users were more diverse than those of nonusers. We identified Internet use, and especially using social networks, contributes to having more diverse social networks, said Keith Hampton, lead researcher for the report and an assistant professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania. The study also found that people still prefer face-to-face communication as the primary means to stay in touch with friends and family (people see loved ones in person an average of 210 days a year). Respondents said that they were in touch via mobile phone an average of 195 days a year.

5 Keith N. Hampton, University of Pennsylvania; Lauren F. Sessions, University of Pennsylvania; Eun Ja Her, University of Pennsylvania; Lee Rainie, Pew Internet Project Summary of findings from Pew Internet & American Life Project- Social Networking Sites and Our Lives November 2009 Accessed February 20th, 2012 Questions have been raised about the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. Do these technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? The Pew Research Centers Internet & American Life Project decided to examine SNS in a survey that explored peoples overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement. The findings presented here paint a rich and complex picture of the role that digital technology plays in peoples social worlds. Wherever possible, we seek to disentangle whether peoples varying social behaviors and attitudes are related to the different ways they use social networking sites, or to other relevant demographic characteristics, such as age, gender and social class. The number of those using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of SNS users has gotten older. In this Pew Internet sample, 79% of American adults said they used the internet and nearly half of adults (47%), or 59% of internet users, say they use at least one of SNS. This is close to double the 26% of adults (34% of internet users) who used a SNS in 2008. Among other things, this means the average age of adult-SNS users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult SNS users are now over the age of 35. Some 56% of SNS users now are female. Facebook dominates the SNS space in this survey: 92% of SNS users are on Facebook; 29% use MySpace, 18% used LinkedIn and 13% use Twitter. There is considerable variance in the way people use various social networking sites: 52% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users engage with the platform daily, while only 7% of MySpace and 6% of LinkedIn users do the same. On Facebook on an average day: 15% of Facebook users update their own status. 22% comment on anothers post or status. 20% comment on another users photos. 26% Like another users content. 10% send another user a private message

Facebook users are more trusting than others. We asked people if they felt that most people can be trusted. When we used regression analysis to control for demographic factors, we found that the typical internet user is more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted. Further, we found that Facebook users are even more likely to be trusting. We used regression analysis to control for other factors and found that a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other

6 internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that most people can be trusted. Facebook users have more close relationships. The average American has just over two discussion confidants (2.16) that is, people with whom they discuss important matters. This is a modest, but significantly larger number than the average of 1.93 core ties reported when we asked this same question in 2008. Controlling for other factors we found that someone who uses Facebook several times per day averages 9% more close, core ties in their overall social network compared with other internet users. Facebook users get more social support than other people. We looked at how much total support, emotional support, companionship, and instrumental aid adults receive. On a scale of 100, the average American scored 75/100 on a scale of total support, 75/100 on emotional support (such as receiving advice), 76/100 in companionship (such as having people to spend time with), and 75/100 in instrumental aid (such as having someone to help if they are sick in bed). Internet users in general score 3 points higher in total support, 6 points higher in companionship, and 4 points higher in instrumental support. A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day tends to score an additional 5 points higher in total support, 5 points higher in emotional support, and 5 points higher in companionship, than internet users of similar demographic characteristics. For Facebook users, the additional boost is equivalent to about half the total support that the average American receives as a result of being married or cohabitating with a partner. Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people. Our survey was conducted over the November 2010 elections. At that time, 10% of Americans reported that they had attended a political rally, 23% reported that they had tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 66% reported that they had or intended to vote.Internet users in general were over twice as likely to attend a political meeting, 78% more likely to try and influence someones vote, and 53% more likely to have voted or intended to vote. Compared with other internet users, and users of other SNS platforms, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day was an additional two and half times more likely to attend a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to persuade someone on their vote, and an additional 43% more likely to have said they would vote. Facebook revives dormant relationships. In our sample, the average Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends. They reported that their friends list contains: 22% people from high school 12% extended family 10% coworkers 9% college friends 8% immediate family 7% people from voluntary groups 2% neighbors

7 Over 31% of Facebook friends cannot be classified into these categories. However, only 7% of Facebook friends are people users have never met in person, and only 3% are people who have met only one time. The remainder is friends-of-friends and social ties that are not currently active relationships, but dormant ties that may, at some point in time, become an important source of information. Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties. Looking only at those people that SNS users report as their core discussion confidants, 40% of users have friended all of their closest confidants. This is a substantial increase from the 29% of users who reported in our 2008 survey that they had friended all of their core confidants. MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view. We measured perspective taking, or the ability of people to consider multiple points of view. There is no evidence that SNS users, including those who use Facebook, are any more likely than others to cocoon themselves in social networks of like-minded and similar people, as some have feared. Moreover, regression analysis found that those who use MySpace have significantly higher levels of perspective taking. The average adult scored 64/100 on a scale of perspective taking, using regression analysis to control for demographic factors, a MySpace user who uses the site a half dozen times per month tends to score about 8 points higher on the scale.

8 Zain Shauk Teens navigate risks, rewards of sharing all on social media Houston Chronicle (Chron. com) February 6, 2012 Accessed February 23rd, 2012 For teens, the world of social media can be a refuge - a place where they can confidently discuss their passions, secret desires, and, for some, suicide. That was the case for two Houston girls who recently killed themselves after extensive Twitter and blog posts about their frustrations with life. One tweeted a picture of a loaded revolver before she shot herself in the head last week. Although startling, the cases reveal a strong connection between many teenagers and social media, through which they are often far more expressive and open about their personal thoughts than they would be in person, counselors and experts said. Because of an increased sense of anonymity online, teens are more likely to act differently - more bold, aggressive about their opinions and, often, authentic - than they would be in person, according to a study on teen usage of social media conducted by The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. "They feel anonymous when they're writing this stuff, although obviously it's not anonymous," said Sherry Sunderman, the coordinator of guidance and counseling for Conroe ISD. "The good news is that they are expressing themselves. The bad news is when things don't get handled because they're not talking to adults who may be close by." Vigilance Because teens are more expressive online, counselors are paying closer attention to their posts, whether it's through direct viewing or at the suggestion of a student who may be concerned about a friend, Sunderman said. In the cases of Ashley Duncan, 17, and Ashley Billasano, 18, it appears that none of their hundreds of Twitter followers sounded an alarm about their tweets. Duncan had for days added blog and Twitter posts illustrating despair before she killed herself Jan. 30 in a grassy area near a bayou in southwest Houston. Billasano killed herself by suffocation in November after tweeting 144 times over a six-hour period about instances of sexual abuse she said she suffered that failed to draw criminal charges. She ended by saying, "I'd love to hear what you have to say. But I won't be around." The positive and negative implications of teens' open attitudes to online expression are substantial. Teens who might be more lonely in a school setting can benefit from social media by developing networks of friends associated with their interests, said Grace Rodriguez, a Houston-based branding and social media strategist.

"I notice that when people do start to feel down or get depressed or there are subtle hints, other people comment," Rodriguez said. "It makes them feel that somebody cares, and I think that's really important." Danger in numbers At the same time, there is the added danger of associating with a crowd that shares similar depressive thinking, said Steven Stack, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit who has conducted extensive research on suicide and media. "You can enforce your own depression by associating with other people who are depressed," Stack said. Teens posting updates related to their depression could also fall prey to bullying or harsh jokes from others who don't take them seriously. The results can be dangerous, said Carla Sharp, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Houston. "I think what we'll see is that social media will be a protective factor for some kids, but for other kids it may, in fact, enhance a sense of isolation," Sharp said. There may also be friends who may not react, perhaps because they don't grasp the magnitude of dark posts that should raise serious red flags, said Bill Berger, chairman of the greater Houston chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. When teens express suicidal thoughts, even on Twitter or Facebook, they should be confronted directly, he said. And because teens are so active on social media, increased awareness at schools about warning signs and suicidal behavior online is important, he said. "Almost all the time somebody has one last-ditch effort," Berger said. "They want to get one word out to somebody as a last resort."

10 Perri Klass, M.D Seeing social media more as portal than as pitfall NY January 9, 2012 Accessed February 26th, 2012 More than a hundred years ago, when the telephone was introduced, there was some handwringing over the social dangers that this new technology posed: increased sexual aggression and damaged human relationships. It was going to bring down our society, said Dr. Megan Moreno, a specialist in adolescent medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Men would be calling women and making lascivious comments, and women would be so vulnerable, and wed never have civilized conversations again. In other words, the telephone provoked many of the same worries that more recently have been expressed about online social media. When a new technology comes out that is something so important, there is this initial alarmist reaction, Dr. Moreno said. Indeed, much of the early research and many of the early pronouncements on social media seemed calculated to make parents terrified of an emerging technology that many of them did not understand as well as their children did. Whether about sexting or online bullying or the specter of Internet addiction, much social media research has been on what people call the danger paradigm, said Dr. Michael Rich, a pediatrician and the director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Childrens Hospital Boston. Though there are certainly real dangers, and though some adolescents appear to be particularly vulnerable, scientists are now turning to a more nuanced understanding of this new world. Many have started to approach social media as an integral, if risky, part of adolescence, perhaps not unlike driving. Researchers are also looking to Facebook, Twitter and the rest for opportunities to identify problems, to hear cries for help and to provide information and support. Dr. Rich, who sees many teenagers who struggle with Internet-related issues, feels strongly that it is important to avoid blanket judgments about the dangers of going online. We should not view social media as either positive or negative, but as essentially neutral, he said. Its what we do with the tools that decides how they affect us and those around us. Dr. Morenos early research looked at adolescents who displayed evidence of risky behaviors on public MySpace profiles, posting photos or statements that referred to sexual activity or substance abuse. E-mails were sent to those adolescents suggesting that they modify their profiles or make them private. Girls were more likely to respond than boys, Dr. Moreno found, and sexual material was more likely than alcohol-related material to be removed. Her current research, by contrast, approaches social media as a window, an opportunity to understand and improve both physical and mental health. In a study of the ways college students describe sadness in status updates on their Facebook profiles, she showed that some such expressions were associated with depression in students who completed clinical screening tests.


Since freshman year is a high-risk time for depression, many college resident advisers already try to use Facebook to monitor students, Dr. Moreno said. Perhaps it will be possible to help R.A.s recognize red flags in the online profiles of their charges. Still, she acknowledged that this new strategy raised privacy concerns, asking, How do you think about extending this to other at-risk groups in a way that still doesnt feel like an invasion of privacy? For example, can we help people in support groups take care of one another better through social media? Going back and forth, as I do these days, between the worlds of academic pediatrics and academic journalism, I am struck by the focus in both settings on the potential and the risks of social media and on the importance of understanding how communication is changing. Our children are using social media to accomplish the eternal goals of adolescent development, which include socializing with peers, investigating the world, trying on identities and establishing independence. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media issued a clinical report, The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families. It began by emphasizing the benefits of social media for children and adolescents, including enhanced communication skills and opportunities for social connections. A large part of this generations social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cellphones, the report noted. Our job as parents is to help them manage all this wisely, to understand and avoid some of the special dangers and consequences of making mistakes in these media. (We can expect the same kind of gratitude that we get for all of our guidance: mixed, of course, with an extra helping of contempt if our technical skills are not up to theirs.) Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all harm model, one of the questions parents need to ask is, How is this going to interact with my childs personality? said Clay Shirky, who teaches about social media at New York University. Digital media is an amplifier. It tends to make extroverts more extroverted and introverts more introverted. And both parents and researchers need to be sure they understand the subtleties of the ways teenagers interpret social media. At a 2011 symposium on the Internet and society, two researchers presented information on how teenagers understand negative talk on the Internet. What adults interpret as bullying is often read by teenagers as drama, a related but distinct phenomenon. By understanding how teenagers think about harsh rhetoric, the researchers suggested, we may find ways to help them defend themselves against the real dangers of online aggression. The problems of cyberbullying and Internet overuse are serious, and the risks of making mistakes online are very real. But even those who treat adolescents with these problems are now committed to the idea that there are other important perspectives for researchers or parents, or teachers looking at the brave new universe in which adolescence is taking place.


Social media, said Dr. Rich, are the new landscape, the new environment in which kids are sorting through the process of becoming autonomous adults the same things that have been going on since the earth cooled.