Mass Mingling, not social isolation

Long gone are the days when 'online' was synonymous with social isolation and loneliness, reports Technology is driving people to connect and meet up en masse with others, or what can be called Mass Mingling. Thanks to the online revolution, hundreds of millions are now actively searching for, finding, connecting/signaling, and staying in touch with likeminded souls in the virtual world. Constant updates, GPS and mobile online access is now bringing this explosion of dating, networking, socializing and mingling to the real world domain. But this has not turned entire generations into homebound, anti-social zombies.Actually, interacting with other people - a fundamental need (which goes beyond simply enjoying one another's company, or being emotionally dependent on other people) - has become easier thanks to new technology.  And all this 'befriending' takes place in unprecedented quantities: never before were people able to build and maintain such extensive and relevant personal networks.

There are 100 million+ users on Twitter, with 50 million tweets sent each day; users on Facebook are nearing 500 million, and the average user has 130 friends, spends 55 minutes a day on the site and receives three "event invitations" to real-life gatherings every month; LinkedIn users number over 65 million members. A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second; Meetup has 6.1 million members, handling 2.2 million RSVPs and 180,000 meet-ups, in 45,000 cities a month; Foursquare has one million users, while Gowalla has 150,000 users. In fact, 73 percent of online teens and 72 percent) of young adults use social network sites. 73 percent of adult profile owners use Facebook, 48 percent have a profile on MySpace and 14 percent use LinkedIn, according to Pew (and that was early this year).

"Thanks to our connection machine, they [young people] will stay linked, likely for the rest of their lives. With their blogs, MySpace pages, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, Seesmic conversations, Twitter feeds, and all the means for sharing their lives yet to be invented, they will leave lifelong Google tracks that will make it easier to find them," said media guru Jeff Jarvis.