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Over Half of Adults Feel Less Connected with Closest Friends & Family
USAgNet - 03/25/2019

According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research, commissioned by Western Digital Corp., more than half of Americans (54 percent) feel less of a deep connection with their inner circle than they did five years ago, specifically because they don't find meaningful ways to stay in touch. At the same time, 85 percent of respondents who share photos with their inner circles cite "strengthening personal relationships with friends and family" as one of their major drivers. This data suggests that privately sharing photos and videos with friends and family may help to deepen the connections that many people believe have weakened over the years, despite the proliferation of social media and smartphones. ibi, the new smart photo manager, lets people collect, organize and privately share photos and videos with the people who matter most to them.

The survey shows that while Americans who use social media have an average of 557 "friends" across platforms, there is a perceived absence of authenticity on social media. This helps explain why many respondents feel like they lack meaningful ways keep in touch with their loved ones. When questioned, a staggering 77 percent agreed that most of the people in their social networks exaggerate their lives online. Further, more than two in five Americans surveyed (44 percent) reported that a member of their inner circle posted a photo of them online that they did not want to be seen publicly.

"As social media remains a prominent feature of everyday life, our online networks are continuing to grow. However, social media does not necessarily make us feel more connected and can even ironically make us feel more alienated and lonely. People are now craving more personally fulfilling ways to bond with their inner circles of family and close friends. In fact, psychological research has shown that it is these inner circles of family and close friends that can make life feel meaningful," said Clay Routledge, professor and psychological scientist. "Many consumers are on social media because they long for connection but what they are really looking for and could most benefit from is a tool that allows them to easily share and revisit their most cherished life experiences exclusively with their inner circles."

"As a mom, I love capturing every precious moment from my daughter's childhood," said Brandi Milloy, food and lifestyle expert. "While I love to document my family's lives on my social channels, there are special moments that are best shared with my inner circle of friends and family who will fully appreciate every moment, from those first steps to first bike rides and everything in between. With ibi, I have a private space that lets me collect, find and share photos and videos with only the people I want, and no one else."

Americans who have an inner circle report it includes a variety of people, such as their spouse or partner(s) (59 percent), sibling(s) (50 percent), parent(s) or guardian(s) (44 percent), child(ren) (30 percent), or childhood friends (30 percent). Among those who choose to share photos with members of their inner circle, sharing behavior was motivated by a variety of reasons, including:

- To reminisce on shared moments, both past and present (63 percent)

- To maintain bonds, such as to overcome distance by sharing events and experiences (51 percent)

- To reflect on personal growth, such as changes or progress we've made over time (36 percent)

- To keep family history or heritage alive (36 percent)

"While there are lots of ways to preserve and share photos and videos, consumers are still looking for an easy, reliable solution that puts them in full control of their content," said David Ellis, vice president of product marketing, Western Digital.

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