Neighbors prefer in-person chat to electronic

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The Independent Online

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, an initiative of Pew Research Center, has found that avid internet users still communicate with their neighbors in person rather than via devices, and more than non-techies.

Aaron Smith, the study's author and a research specialist at the Pew Research Center, published his report "Neighbors Online" June 9 on PewInternet.org.

A telephone survey was the basis for Smith's report. The survey was offered in English and Spanish, took place November 30 - December 27, 2009 and included a sample of 2,258 people aged 18 and up. The majority of the respondents did not use their cell phone.

Smith highlights the following results:
 - 22 percent of all adults (representing 28 percent of internet users) signed up to receive alerts about local issues (such as traffic, school events, weather warnings or crime alerts) via email or text messaging.
 - 20 percent of all adults (27 percent of internet users) used digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues.

Whereas:
 - 46 percent of Americans talked face-to-face with neighbors about community issues
 - 21 percent discussed community issues over the telephone
 - 11 percent read a blog dealing with community issues
 - 9 percent exchanged emails with neighbors about community issues and 5% say they belong to a community email listserv
 - 4 percent communicated with neighbors by text messaging on cell phones
 - 4 percent joined a social network site group connected to community issues
 - 2 percent followed neighbors using Twitter

He told the science news site LiveScience, "Talking face to face is by far the most common way people interact regarding issues that affect the community. We didn't see the situation of electronic communications taking the place of personal interactions."

Perhaps Americans are neighborly or they just don't want to communicate with their neighbors unless they have to (confronted face-to-face).

To read the full report, go to: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Neighbors-Online.aspx?r=1 and to see the survey questions: http://www.pewinternet.org/Static-Pages/Data-Tools/Explore-Survey-Questions/Roper-Center.aspx?item={C22C562B-EA52-4504-BAA1-BBA928F43FF7}

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