The vast majority of teens who use social networking sites say they use the sites to maintain their current friendships, while half report using the sites to make new friends. Teens say they use social networking sites to stay in touch with friends they see a lot (91% of social networking teens report this), but also to maintain contact with those friends they rarely see in person (82%). Just half of all social networking teens report using the sites to make new friends. —Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden —Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview (Pew Internet & Americal Life Project)
A good source of fresh statistics. I had already noticed that my freshmen are arriving on campus with their online networks already in place, so I’m no longer seeing the intense blog-based bonding that happened at SHU in the fall of 2003 and 2004, when I gave campus blogs to large numbers of freshmen who mostly had no previous online presence. I don’t see this as a problem — the academic blogs are still useful, but fewer students are continuing to blog on their own in between classes. I gather that they are doing their online networking in the commercial spaces rather than at SHU.