A new study published jointly by Duke University and the University of Arizona found that Americans have fewer close friends today than they did twenty years ago. The average number of people who are considered close confidants dropped by nearly one-third, from 2.94 in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004.

The study speculates that the drop may be a result of increased work hours and/or the use of the Internet for socializing. The theory is that friendships made and maintained online are inferior to those based on in person contact. So while the Internet may allow us to keep in touch and “know” lots of people, the relationships are shallower than those forged in person.

I buy this argument. I communicate with a lot of folks using the Internet, but my best friends are universally people I’ve spent countless in person hours with. If the Internet is leading people to skip the in person part of friendship, I definitely think that would lead to more superficial relationships.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.