As social butterflies flock to the U.S. to study and apply for a social work degree, they can be seen as a symbol of the country’s growing economic and political success.
In recent years, more than 10,000 U.K. graduates have gone to work in Washington, according to The New York Times.
In a 2015 survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans said they had been a part of a social network in the past five years, with nearly half of those saying they had a social life at work.
But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story, said Matthew Wysocki, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Wysocksi told The New Yorker that social butterflies are “people who want to be part of the network.”
“People who are looking to have a network, who are in it for the right reasons,” he said.
“People are looking for that sort of social circle that connects with other people.”
But what does that social circle look like?
“If you look at it, you’re not seeing people who have made decisions that they’re making for themselves,” Wysoksi said.
Instead, “you’re seeing people looking at their networks, looking at the connections, and seeing how that relates to what they are doing in the workplace.”
It’s an important distinction, he said, because, while social butterflies may have an inordinate amount of autonomy, they are often unable to make decisions about their own lives.
“The thing that really worries me about social butterflies is that they don’t have the autonomy to do their own thing, or to do it well,” WYSOCKI said.
It’s also important to keep in mind that, like all of us, social butterflies will experience anxiety when it comes to making decisions about what they do and who they spend time with.
“It’s not necessarily the case that you’re going to have more social butterflies, but they do have an anxiety about being social and that is something that is not something that they can control,” Wiesocksi said, adding that, “when people are anxious, they’re anxious a lot.”
Social butterflies are a good example of what happens when people are socialized into social networks, Wysokis said.
But what about the rest of us?
Is social butterfly culture a problem?
“No,” Winesk said.
According to a 2014 study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, social butterfly groups are actually a healthy thing.
Researchers found that, when studying human sociality, “groups with members who were not in groups with social butterflies were found to be more stable and more likely to develop stable relationships with other groups, and to have lower rates of conflict with the social butterflies.”
Social butterfly culture has also been found to improve the lives of social workers.
Researchers at the University of Southern California found that social butterfly group members were less likely to have suicidal thoughts, and that social workers were more likely than non-social butterfly group participants to be able to work with clients with depression and anxiety disorders.
WYSIKS: The Great Depression The Great Recession also brought about a shift in the nature of social butterflies.
In the mid-2000s, there was a spike in suicides in the U and other developed nations.
Researchers have blamed the crisis on the loss of social butterfly networks.
As a result, many social workers and social workers in other professions, such as teachers and lawyers, felt compelled to focus more on their careers, WYSICKI said, citing studies that found that “if social butterflies disappeared, so would the economy.”
“In a lot of cases, it’s not about the people that are in your network,” WYISKOFF: The American Dream As social butterfly cultures continue to shrink, some experts are concerned that social problems will also shrink.
In October, the National Institutes of Health announced it would no longer fund social butterfly programs.
But, WYISSKOFF noted, there are still many people out there who are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
“We’re a long way from having this kind of societal solution,” WYESKOFF said.
He added that the current focus on social butterfly organizations is not a solution to social problems.
“There’s no one solution to the problem of social anxiety,” he added.
WYSOKI: Social butterflies can help us solve our own problems but we can’t solve social problems for everyone.
WYESOKI is a senior writer at The Washington Post.
Follow him on Twitter @wysockic.