A sociological study of changes in American's personal networks and close friends, provides some very interesting food for thought. I don't think the results of the study are earthshaking news, we are all aware that our lifestyles and mobility prevent us from forming close personal ties, and our present personal and social networks are very different from our past.
The study provides the evidence, now I'd like you to think about the future.
What will these mean for the US society in the next 20-40 years if it continues? What happens in a society when these relationships are no longer available? What are the "new scenarios" and what changes in behaviour do they provoke?
How will this affect our work, lifestyle, health, politics and consumer habits? What opportunities or challenges are created for workers and businesses now and into the future?
Is this an international phenomenon or limited only to the US?
How is this affecting you and your family? Is it noticeable? Is it only nostalgic to think about being part of a larger social network or are there "real" consequences when it becomes smaller?
A short quote from the article in the ASA News, June 16, 2006 says:
"AMERICANS' CIRCLE OF FRIENDS IS SHRINKING
Washington, DC —Americans’ circle of close confidants has shrunk dramatically in the past two decades and the number of people who say they have no one with whom to discuss important matters has more than doubled, according to a new study by sociologists at Duke University and the University of Arizona.
“The evidence shows that Americans have fewer confidants and those ties are also more family-based than they used to be,” said Lynn Smith-Lovin, Robert L. Wilson Professor of Sociology at Duke University and one of the study’s authors.
“This change indicates something that’s not good for our society. Ties with a close network of people create a safety net. These ties also lead to civic engagement and local political action,” she said." America's Circle of Friends is Shrinking, American Sociological Association
Other Mentions on the Net: