Web Insight: How many friends who you met online have you since met in person?

With the internet becoming an increasingly integral part of most people’s lives, there are an expanding variety of ways in which people whom we originally met online are subsequently met in person.

In the Center’s Digital Future Survey we have asked internet users how many people whom they originally met online they have since met in person. We first asked this question in 2000. Most recently, we asked it in 2018.

How has the number changed?

With few exceptions, there has been a steady increase. Back in 2000, the average number of people originally met online and subsequently in person was 0.7. In 2005, the number had increased to 1.5. In 2010, the average number met was 2.4. In 2015, the figure was 3.7.

Most recently, in 2018, the average number of people first met online and later in person was 5.1. Again, there have been a couple of reversals, but the trend is strongly upward.

It will be interesting to see if there are any limits to the number as online connection continues to increase.

(For findings on online friends never met in person, go here.)


See all Web Insights.

August 26, 2019