Kansas City Star Mentions RESCUECOM in Feature Piece on Social Internet
BITS & BYTESBy DAVID HAYES
January 25, 2006
Columnist, Kansas City Star:
As it turns out, the Internet may not be turning us into high-tech hermits after all.
In a report that goes against traditional thinking, the Pew Internet and American Life Project recently found that the Net strengthens offline friendships and does not increase social alienation.
Friends use e-mail and the Internet to stay in touch and to reach out when they are having problems or need information, the study found. Heavy online users actually have larger support networks than those who don’t use the Internet, the study found.
“When you need help these days, you don’t need a bugle to call the cavalry, you need a big buddy list,” said John Horrigan, associate director for research at the Pew Internet Project and co-author of the report.
“Internet use provides online Americans a path to resources, such as access to people who may have the right information to help deal with family health crises or find a new job,” Horrigan said.
The report brushed aside concerns that the Internet isolates people.“With the help of the Internet, people are able to maintain active contact with sizable social networks, even though many of the people in those networks do not live close to them,” according to the report, titled “The Strength of Internet Ties.”Barry Wellman, a co-author of the report and a sociologist at the University of Toronto, said new technology allows people to communicate and develop relationships with like-minded people anywhere in the world.
“The Internet and the cell phone have transformed communication: instead of being based on house-to-house interactions, they are built on person-to-person exchanges,” Wellman said.“This creates a new basis for community. Rather than relying on a single community for social support, individuals often must actively seek out a variety of appropriate people and resources for different situations.”
The study found that the Internet had played an “important role” in life changing decisions for consumers.
More than 21 million people have used the Internet for career training. About 17 million had used the Net to help someone get information on a medical illness. And 10 million had used the Net to find a place to live.
The Pew study was based on two surveys involving more than 4,400 people.
Your brain on wireless
The latest tests on wireless phones and brain cancer came in negative.
A four-year test by the London-based Institute of Cancer Research and three British universities found there was no increased risk of cancer from cell-phone use.
The report involved a study of 966 cancer patients.
Studies have gone back and forth for several years on whether the electromagnetic energy emitted by cell phones causes brain cancer. Several lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers.
- Icop Digital, a Lenexa firm that designs in-car video surveillance systems for law enforcement, has added a former New York City police chief to its advisory board. Lou Anemone, chief of the New York department until 1999, has joined the startup.
- Why Struggle, a Kansas City information technology firm, is teaming with ShoreTel, a manufacturer of Voice over Internet Protocol equipment, to market Internet telephony to small businesses.
- Rescuecom, a national in-home computer repair service, has expanded to Kansas City. The company offers around-the-clock, one-hour computer repair.
- Video game wunderkind Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, profiled by The Kansas City Star last year, made the big time Sunday.“60 Minutes” profiled the 24-year-old video-game champion, pronouncing Wendel “the best video game player in America.”
Wendel has become something of a business unto himself, launching a line of Fatal1ty products ranging from computer motherboards to hooded sweatshirts.
“Technology Showcase 2006” will be held Thursday in union with Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Business After Hours” series.
The session runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Crown Center Exhibit Hall, 2323 McGee St. The session costs $10 for chamber members and $25 for nonmembers.
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