More than half (58 percent) of web users say social networks are ideal for ensuring they know what's going on with their friends and acquaintances, reveals a poll by Harris Interactive.

The research firm also highlighted that 54 percent admit they have less actual contact with their friends than ever before, and nearly a third (31 percent) claim they are lonelier than before they used social networks.

"It's getting harder to remember a time when people didn't 'friend' or 'follow' someone and have that mean electronically, not in person," the research firm said.

"And, on the whole, social media users seem to be the better for it, connecting with friends and old classmates that they probably wouldn't have gotten in touch with before social networks. Then, there is the argument that connecting online could actually harm relationships and make people feel more isolated."

Earlier this year, a study showed that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are occupying more of users' time, while another revealed 57 percent of women said they communicate with people more online than they do in person. Furthermore, 39 percent of responsedents to the same survey called themselves Facebook addicts.

Harris noted that young users - between 18 and 34 - are connecting more online than their older counterparts . However, those younger users also are reporting less face-to-face encounters with friends.

It's a different story when it comes to connecting with people you work with. According to the poll, only 19 percent of people say they feel very connected or connected through social media to business associates.

See also: Facebook ads could 'out' gay users