Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a marriage and family counselor for the last45 years. He is the author of 8 books, including Looking for Love in All theWrong Places, Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Mr.Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome (May,2010). He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office inCalifornia or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around theworld. To receive a Free E-book on Men’s Health and a free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go towww.MenAlive.com. If you are looking for anexpert counselor to help with relationship issues, write Jed@MenAlive.com.The rap on social media has been that it is superficial and the more timepeople spend on-line, the less time they spend interacting in the “real”world with “real” people. However, recent research indicates that this isn’ttrue.Myth #1: Social relationships are failing.The Pew Internet and American Life Project’s 2007 report found that socialrelationships and the sense of community are not “fading away in America”but growing, although in non-traditional ways. Social affiliations areincreasingly shifting from extended family relationships and connections inneighborhood-based organizations to “social networks,” bringing people of like-minded interests that transcend geography.Myth #2: Social media undermines our core relationships.The Pew survey asked people about how their Internet involvementaffected both their core ties and significant ties. Core ties are with peopleto whom one has close, intimate relationships, while significant ties weredefined as those with people to whom one is somewhat closely connected.Contrary to the concerns of critics, the more contact individuals had by e-mail, the more in-person and phone contact they had, suggesting that“Americans are probably more in contact with members of theircommunities and social networks than before the advent of the internet.”Myth #3: Face-to-Face social networks are in decline.A total of 32 percent of the respondents in the Pew survey reported thatengagement on the Internet increased the size of their social networkswhile only 3 percent said it decreased them. Overall, Internet users boast“somewhat larger social networks than non-users.Myth #4: Internet networks undermine social capital.Social capital is people helping one another. Traditionally this has been therole of churches and fraternal organizations. Increased Internet use assistsusers in maintaining existing social ties, often strengthening them, whilehelping users forge new social ties. It has not, as some critics hadpreviously warned, been at the expense of significant social ties.In fact, additional time spent online in community reduced the time spendon unsocial activities like T.V.Myth #5: Text messaging encourages superficial friendships.The survey found that more frequent communications via Internet textmessaging encourages the desire to spend more time face-to-face.Researchers found that the reason lies not only in the frequency of stayingin contact but also the nature of the medium and the way it is used.Text messaging, they found, requires a more careful crafting of communications than telephone or face-to-face communications and,messaging is often done at home, often late at night, and therefore peopleoften share more intimate feelings.Three in ten teens, for instance, say “that they are more honest when theytalk with friends on line.”Myth #6: Internet interaction fosters false selves.