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Social Networks Not So Social?
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Social Networks Not So Social?

Digital Life

Social Networks Not So Social?

Social Networks Not So Social?
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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A new study says most people who use social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace only have five close friends. News & Notes Web producer Geoffrey Bennett talks about the study and the stories that are making the rounds on the show's blog, "News & Views."


This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.

We have our weekly Bloggers' Roundtable coming up, but first, we take a look at what's happening on the Web and our blog, News & Views. With me is our Web producer Geoffrey Bennett.

Hey, Geoff.


CHIDEYA: So will you be my friend online?

BENNETT: I will, but there's a new study about some of these social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. It says if people who rack up 500,000 friends online, those friends don't yield genuine friendships in real life. It's a very interesting study.

It says that the brain can really only handle about five close friendships and so that people who have all these friends and often brag about them and say, you know, look how many friends I have online. It doesn't really mean anything in real life.

CHIDEYA: There's been a lot of people who really use it as a networking tool, but you're basically saying that those emotional attachments don't come through. And why do you think that is in terms of trust maybe?

BENNETT: All right. Well, on the Web, people can be deceptive and oftentimes, in these profiles they create they lie and exaggerate things about themselves and the study says that people need face-to-face interactions to determine if people can be trustworthy. So we have more about that study on our blog.

CHIDEYA: Fantastic. And what about our blog? What are people reacting to?

BENNETT: Well, as we marked the sixth anniversary of 9/11 yesterday, there are some really poignant comments from people remembering where they were on 9/11. So I encourage people to go back and read those.

Folks are still talking about Oprah's fundraiser for Barack Obama and then coverage of the Jena Six prosecution in Louisiana is always a big story. And as a sampling of what people are saying on our blog, one person said, quote, "The juvenile justice implications of this case are certainly worthy of scrutiny, but we can't forget the other problem that affects far more of our nation's children, racially disparate school discipline practices."

CHIDEYA: What else do we have going on with the Jena Six case?

BENNETT: Well, we came across some photos of the town and some of the key figures involved in that case that really add a humanizing dimension to that story. And so we've posted those photos in our blog and people can find those and the collection of our reporting on that story online as well.

CHIDEYA: Well, Geoff, thanks for the update.

BENNETT: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Geoffrey Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES.

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