Facebook may have connected many a friend, but its role in strengthening neighborhood bond may be limited as face-to-face communication is still the norm among neighbors, suggests new research. People are not comfortable with neighbors seeing details of their private life on Facebook, the study found. Also Read - Explained: Can Twitter get banned in India?
“We found there is a mismatch between what Facebook offers and how people think neighbors should communicate,” said Bonnie Johnson, one of the researchers and associate professor of urban planning at the University of Kansas in the US. Also Read - Twitter vs government: Twitter India loses legal protection for not complying with IT rules on time
The researchers conducted a case study to see if social media could revive a struggling neighborhood association. The team studied a Lawrence neighborhood with more than 500 homes that had a neighborhood association since the early 1970s. Over 10 years, the association’s active members had dropped from more than 100 to less than 10. Also Read - Twitter friends/followers seeking your unwanted attention could be Unmentioned
In hopes of rebuilding neighborhood participation, the neighborhood association launched Facebook and Twitter accounts and an email, which they advertised throughout the neighborhood. The results yielded five Facebook likes, three Twitter followers and two new email addresses.
To find out why there was little interest in joining a neighbourhood social network, the researchers sent out surveys to more than 500 homes. Of those surveys, 37 percent were returned. Respondents indicated they were not comfortable with neighbors seeing details of their private life on Facebook.
They also questioned the need for social media when face-to-face communication is the norm among neighbors. The research was published in the Journal of Urban Technology and the Journal of Planning, Practice and Research.