44% of Social Media Users Prefer to Interact With Acquaintances Online vs. In Person

Harris Interactive has released the results of a new U.S. online poll conducted between September 1 and 3, 2010 among 2,258 adults (aged 18 and over), which focused on the changing nature of online and real-life social relationships.

According to the poll, 87% of online Americans use social media.  Of those, 44% say that, in general, they prefer to interact with acquaintances using social media rather than face-to-face;  23% say the same about interacting with friends and 19% say so about interacting with family.

In general, almost three in five online adults (57%) say they feel more connected to people now than they did previously, and 56% say they they keep in touch more with friends now than in the past.  Of those surveyed, 58% say that they know what’s going on with their friends and acquaintances, but they don’t interact with them personally or individually, and 54% say that  they have had less face-to-face contact with friends recently.

Social Media Users vs. Non-Users

Although social media users are more likely to keep in touch with friends than in the past (58%) than non-social media users (44%), they are also more likely to have had less face-to-face contact with their friends recently (55%) than non-social media users (49%).  In spite of this, they are more likely to feel more connected to people now than previously (59%) than non-social media users (43%)

Click here for more analysis and data from this study at Harris Interactive.