Almost three in five online adults (57 percent) say they feel more connected to people now than they did previously and 56 percent say they find they keep in touch more with friends now than in the past, according to a Harris Poll of 2,258 adults surveyed online between September 1 and 3.
Although Americans who are online may feel more connected, they are not actually seeing people more. Almost three in five online adults (58 percent) say they know what's going on with their friends and acquaintances, but don't interact with them personally or individually, and a majority (54 percent) say that recently, they have had less face-to-face contact with friends.
Younger Americans (those 18-34) are more likely than those 55 and older to find they keep in touch with more friends now than in the past (63 percent vs. 52 percent) and to feel more connected to people now (63 percent vs. 53 percent). But those 18-34 are more likely than those 55 and older to say they have had less face-to-face contact with friends (56 percent vs. 49 percent), and, while they know what's going on with friends, they don't interact with them personally or individually (60 percent vs. 54 percent).
Almost nine in 10 online Americans (87 percent) use social media and, of these, there are different levels of connection they feel with various groups. Over half say they feel very connected or connected to close friends (58 percent) and immediate family (52 percent), while 42 percent say they feel this way about extended family through their social media use. Around one-third of social media users feel connected or very connected through social media to friends of friends and/or acquaintances (36 percent) and old classmates (32 percent).
For business, the same feeling of connection is not quite there yet, as only one in five social media users (19 percent) say they feel very connected or connected through social media use to business associates.