FreshMeat #4: Reading FreshMeat Declared Safe

FreshMeat #4 from Steve Portigal

               (oo) Fresh                  
                \\/  Meat

You’re gonna have to serve somebody…serve FreshMeat!
Tune in, log on, drop out, uhhh, drop in, uhhh…
In Woody Allen’s “Sleeper,” Miles Monroe wakes up in the
Year 2173 to discover (among other things) that tobacco
and hot fudge sundaes are commonly regarded as the
healthiest substances for the body. As they say, it’s
funny cuz it’s true. Just look at today’s example…

Recently, Robert Kraut (a CMU social psychologist in the
field of human-computer interaction) has begun to make
public his ongoing findings into the effect of computers
and Internet use on personal well-being. The first
results of the study, from 1998, showed us that usage led
to poor social involvement and feelings of stress and
unhappiness. And the media had a field day with those

Going back to the same subjects, and conducting other
studies, Kraut now retracts that finding and says that
Internet use does not lead to detachment or alienation.
Indeed, life imitates life, and extroverts make more
connections online, while introverts may make fewer.

It’s interesting that as the business viability of the
Internet falls lower still, it turns out to be not so bad
for us after all. And the media has not made anywhere near
the fuss over the latest study. In 1998, the Internet being
bad for us was a bang – an incredible story that permeated
our culture, but the retraction in 2001 is merely a whimper.

This is a highly summarized version of some complicated
research. Read abstracts of Kraut’s papers, or request
copies of the full papers here

An article in the New York Times that describes how
our web habits have shifted can be found here.


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