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Social and Dating

Tech News

Thinking about signing up for Threads? Here are some things to consider.

Do you know why Meta needs your credit score and where you go to church? Neither do we.

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The race is on!

Inside of a few days time, Meta’s new “Threads” app has done to Twitter what no other social media company has done – signed up 100 million text-post loving users, close to a fourth of Twitter’s audience base.

But, despite the spectacle of the punk-out between Meta’s Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Musk and the temptation to join the crowd, experts are saying that there are too many people jumping into Threads without thinking about what they’re giving Meta in th...

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    Article Image

    Connecting networks of friends can increase feelings of support

    The best emotional outcomes are likely to arise when close connections all get along

    Having a strong social network can yield several physical and mental health benefits for consumers, and now a new study is exploring what makes some friends feel more supported than others. 

    According to researchers from Ohio State University, consumers are most likely to feel supported when their closest contacts all know and like each other. 

    “The more cohesive, the more dense this network you have, the more you feel you can rely on them for support,” said researcher David Lee. “It matters if your friends can depend on each other, just like you depend on them.” 

    Making the most of social connections

    The researchers conducted two online studies to determine how consumers best felt supported by their friends and family. In one study, 240 participants were asked to make two lists of the people closest to them based on those who knew each other and those who didn’t know each other. They were then given a hypothetical scenario in which they’d need to reach out to one of the two groups for support in the case of an emergency. 

    Participants reported that they’d feel more supported by the group that knew each other rather than the group that was unconnected. The researchers explained that there could be several reasons for this trend, but one of the primary takeaways is that connected support networks are often viewed as just that: connected. Rather than thinking of each friend or family member individually, thinking of them as a group yields more support. 

    “You can have two friends who are both very supportive of you, but if they are both friends with each other, that makes you feel even more supported,” said researcher Jonathan Stahl. 

    The second study had over 330 participants list the eight people they felt the closest to and how supported they felt by each connection. To understand how support can shift depending on the interconnectedness of those on the lists, the participants also ranked how close each connection was to each other. 

    Ultimately, the researchers learned that closeness between support systems once again played a role, as the participants rated connections as more supportive when they were close with other friends or family on the list. 

    Moving forward, the researchers hope that consumers understand how beneficial it can be to have groups of family and friends spend time together and feel close to one another, because this is a key component in feeling loved and supported. 

    “We found that our support networks are more than the sum of their parts,” said researcher Joseph Bayer. “People who feel they have more social support in their lives may be focusing more on the collective support they feel from being part of a strong, cohesive group. It’s having a real crew, as opposed to just having a set of friends.” 

    Having a strong social network can yield several physical and mental health benefits for consumers, and now a new study is exploring what makes some friend...

    Article Image

    Would you date someone who won’t wear a mask?

    An annual Match survey shows how dating has changed in 2020

    A deadly pandemic and social upheaval have created chaos and change in wide areas of life this year, including relationships.

    The changes are on display in Match’s annual Singles In America study, which underscores the obstacles 2020 has brought to relationships. Dr. Helen Fisher, chief scientific advisor at Match, says the changes to the dating landscape this year are unprecedented.

    "Prior to 2020, no one expected that singles would consider a date's willingness to wear a mask,” she said. “Recent cataclysmic events have led singles to want more from dating: a desire for a relationship over casual dating; more meaningful conversations, and more honesty and transparency during a date." 

    In other words, people are a little more serious about who they go out with. Fisher says the study found that the typical single now wants to know who you are, where you're headed financially, and what you expect from a possible partnership. 

    Social distancing in dating

    How exactly do you date in an era of social distancing? Fisher says singles have found a way.

    “With the rise of video dating -- a new stage in the courtship process -- singles are saving time, money, and kissing fewer frogs."

    According to the study authors, the pandemic sped up a trend that was already unfolding. People are waiting until their late 20s or even later before seeking a relationship. Relationships are also developing more slowly, with singles taking more time to get to know potential partners.

    Priorities have also shifted. Forty-four percent of singles in the study said they had more meaningful conversations with a date in the last month than they generally had before the pandemic. For Gen Z, it was 50 percent.

    Looks less important

    Sixty-one percent of Gen Z daters and 49 percent of millennials say they are less focused on their potential partner’s looks. Sixty-three percent of active Match users say they are spending more time learning about their potential partners, and 69 percent believe those interactions are more honest.

    The study clearly shows that the pandemic has brought about new rules in dating, including whether or not to date at all. About two-thirds of singles are open to going out with someone right now, but 36 percent say they have been highly selective about going on a date.

    A question that may come up before a date is offered or agreed to is whether the person has been practicing social distancing. Twenty percent say they are more careful about touching and kissing. Face masks have also become a significant part of dating, with 20 percent of singles saying they insist that both people on the date wear a face covering.

    The survey shows the pandemic has been a strain on existing relationships. One in four singles broke up with their significant other during the spring’s coronavirus lockdown. Twenty-two percent said they lost contact with someone they hoped to date.

    A deadly pandemic and social upheaval have created chaos and change in wide areas of life this year, including relationships.The changes are on display...

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    People feel more connected to others when talking on the phone instead of texting

    A study found that hearing another person’s voice made communication more personal

    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been difficult for consumers to gather with their friends and loved ones face-to-face. Though gathering virtually has become easier than ever, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin explored what types of virtual communication left consumers feeling the most connected to the people in their lives. 

    The study revealed that phone calls were the best way for consumers to feel connected and bond with their friends or family, more so than any type of texting-based communication. 

    “People feel significantly more connected through voice-based media, but they have these fears about awkwardness that are pushing them towards text-based media,” said researcher Amit Kumar. “When it came to actual experience, people reported they did form a significantly stronger bond with their old friend on the phone versus email, and they did not feel more awkward.” 

    Building connection

    The researchers conducted two experiments to determine what form of communication best served consumers who were trying to stay connected to their family or friends. One experiment paired strangers with various types of communication -- including video chat, phone call, or texting -- and had them ask deeply personal questions to one another. The other experiment gauged how participants felt reconnecting with an old friend via phone call or email, and then had them do just that. 

    In both instances, phone calls came out on top in terms of building connection. Whether with a stranger or an old friend, hearing someone’s voice was an integral component of feeling a real connection, which is something that was lost over text or email. 

    For both tests, the researchers asked participants about various styles of communication, both in terms of what they preferred and what they believed would produce the best results. All of the participants felt that the form of communication wasn’t as important as what was being said, which made these results all the more surprising. 

    Moving forward, the researchers hope that consumers use these findings to feel more connected to their loved ones, especially as in-person gatherings are still limited. 

    “We’re being asked to maintain physical distance, but we still need these social ties for our well-being -- even for our health,” said Kumar. 

    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been difficult for consumers to gather with their friends and loved ones face-to-face. Though gathering virt...