Video: Neighbors Prefer To Communicate Through The Fence, Rather Than On Facebook - Research
People want to communicate face-to-face, not online - this is the conclusion reached by the authors of a research project designed to establish communication between neighbors using social media.
In today's world, the old adage "The tighter the fences, the better the neighbors" can be rephrased: "The more reliable the privacy settings on Facebook, the better the neighbors" - this is how scientists from the University of Kansas comment on the results of their new project. Bonnie Johnson and Jermaine Helegowa conducted a case study to see if social media can restore neighborhood relationships.
Much of the research in social media is about successful neighborhood stories, but Kansas scholars have seen a very different picture. They found there was a significant discrepancy between what happens in Facebook communication and what people actually think about communication between neighbors.
The researchers looked at one of the neighborhoods with more than 500 houses, and the Neighborhood Association has existed since the 1970s. And it turned out that over the past 10 years, the number of active members of the organization has decreased from 100 to 10 people. In the hope of rectifying the situation, the district administration registered accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and also used a service to manage electronic mailings. But these measures did not bring the desired result: the result was only five likes on Facebook, three subscribers on Twitter and two new subscribers to the email newsletter.
To find out the reasons why people did not want to join the virtual community of the area, the researchers sent more than 500 questionnaires to residents, but only 37% of the questionnaires returned. In their responses, people indicated that it would be inconvenient for them if neighbors saw details of their private life on Facebook. And in general, they questioned the need for a virtual community, when neighbors are much more accustomed to communicating face to face.
“As a rule, respondents believe that if they make friends with their neighbors on Facebook, they will open up for them in a new light and it will no longer be possible to just draw the curtains or build a fence,” Helegowa comments. Therefore, this method of communication is not suitable for everyone. In addition, scientists have discovered another interesting fact: mailing lists, which are expensive and time-consuming, are the preferred method of communication for those who are not interested in the life of the association. And for those who want to participate in the life of the district, it is much easier to discuss all issues at a personal meeting.