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This article brings findings of researches that have been conducted and published in PEW- internet and american life project. The writer himself was involved as a researcher in these studies. The article deals with internet (and technologies in general) use among American people. It shows many demographic details and compares between researches done from 2000 to 2003. According to reseach reports there is a tendency to adopt technological developments: more people in general use the internet, adolescents and adults tend to use high speed internat which enables them, due to band width, to form a wide variety of activities on the net, more people report the ability to use internet at work and the number of internet users with access from home increase significantly. Using the net turns into a social norm.
In the social level, a few researches were trying to prove that the internet has some destructive influence and negative effects on the user, such as depression, loneliness, individuation, social isolation and a growing distance from the family and community. These findings have been refuted in some of the PEW researches- to the matter of fact, according to the PEW findings, the internet helps to improve social relationships.
this researh states that people tend to look for online healthcare information- mostly for other people than themslves and they indicate that this information improves the way they treat themselves.
In the community and civic engagement online area, online communities are formed through bulletin boards, chats, e-mails, listservs and other one/many to many communcation interactions. people with shared interests bonded online so that vast and varied communities were formed online without a geographical dependence. many people even shifted the online relationships to the face to face/ offline/ real world. This kind of interaction enabled the users to meet people from different places, with different socio-economical backgrounds- it enabled them the opportunity to join to groups they probably could never be part-of in their real life.
online political involvment in also one of the important researched fields. the internet turned to be a reliable source for political news- especially for young people (aged 18-29). they draw information about political campaigns. yet, according to the research, it was not found that political information increases the political involvement. not only political, but also governmental online information is being constantly used in an increasing frequency (top-level domain gov), according to previous years. governmental clerks claim that the e-mail has contributed to the relationship with the public, however the telephone still remains the main means of communication for the majority of the public. the internet encourages the public to turn to governmental institutions through e-mails and in this manner to get more involved in civic life.
Finally it is stated that this medium is being constantly shaped by its users- through shared files, music, pictures, talkbacks, forums, chats, web-logs, personal webs etc.