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Social Media has evolved. Have you?

In the world of social media, two years seems like a century.

When Bridget and I started writing this column in October 2008, Twitter was just becoming well-known, Foursquare wasn't, and we were hoping to prevent bosses from friending their subordinates on Facebook.

Well, two out of three isn't bad.

I've been thinking over the past two years of Poked quite a bit this week, since it's my last week working for The Miami Herald. I'm moving to a new job at Chicago Public Radio - and it's made me think quite a bit about how life has changed online.

While I've become more laid-back about letting people into, for example, my Facebook world, it's still only for people I've met in real-life. And all the conversations about Facebook and privacy have confirmed long-held opinions I have about being cautious about anything I put into writing.

A new "Digital Future'' study released last week paints a similar contradictory picture of life online: While the percentage of Americans using the Internet are at an all-time high, the amount of people who say they find information online reliable or trustworthy is at an all-time low. When the information is on a social networking site, even heavy users have a low opinion of the information's reliability and accuracy.

USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism has been publishing its Digital Future study annually since 2000. The school noted that during that time, as Internet use had grown and become more mainstream, it would seem logical that people's attitudes about it would also stabilize.

"Yet beginning with our first Digital Future Study in 2000, and in every year since, we have found extraordinary levels of shifting views, new and evolving attitudes about technology, adoption of new media, and casting off of old methods as part of involvement -- or not being involved -- in the online experience,'' the Center for Digital Future's Director, Jeffrey Cole, said in a statement about the study. (Cole was traveling out of the country when I wrote the column for the paper, so we weren't able to communicate in person.)

In the Digital Future study, more than half of the people surveyed said the Internet was important or very important to maintaining social relationships.

For me, maintaining relationships online will be even more important, when I move - but one constant for me will remain: using the digital world to keep these relationships going, whether they were made online through Twitter or maintained through Facebook.

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 02:04 PM on July 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

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