The Internet and Social Life

New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.
Annual Review of Psychology (Impact Factor: 21.81). 02/2004; 55(1):573-90. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922
Source: PubMed


The Internet is the latest in a series of technological breakthroughs in interpersonal communication, following the telegraph, telephone, radio, and television. It combines innovative features of its predecessors, such as bridging great distances and reaching a mass audience. However, the Internet has novel features as well, most critically the relative anonymity afforded to users and the provision of group venues in which to meet others with similar interests and values. We place the Internet in its historical context, and then examine the effects of Internet use on the user's psychological well-being, the formation and maintenance of personal relationships, group memberships and social identity, the workplace, and community involvement. The evidence suggests that while these effects are largely dependent on the particular goals that users bring to the interaction-such as self-expression, affiliation, or competition-they also interact in important ways with the unique qualities of the Internet communication situation.

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    • "Evidence points to the fact that greater use of the Internet can lead to greater community involvement and engagement (Katz, Rice, & Aspden, 2001; Wellman, Haase, Witte, & Hampton, 2001). Using the Internet " does not appear to weaken the fabric of neighborhoods and communities " (Bargh & McKenna, 2004, p. 587). The fact that a crisis gains a wider audience and participants relatively quickly with the use of social media gives rise to a number of theoretical propositions. "
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    ABSTRACT: In crises and disasters, social media not only facilitates mobilization, sharing of critical information, but also enables people to watch and participate as the crisis unfolds. Participation is now much more open to those beyond the immediately affected: the victims, the rescue workers and other stakeholders. This paper reports on a study of tweets collected during and after a rare occurrence of a violent riot in Singapore, illustrating the evolution of crisis responses, emotive cues information seeking and sharing behavior on Twitter over the lifecycle of the riot. Evidence of orientation of responses from the self towards the community as the riot progresses was found, contributing to ongoing research on community building in crises. Emotive cues were most dominant in the first hour of the riot, with various responses fluctuating over the riot's lifecycle. Emotive cues predicted most responses except for tweets that were reasoning about the riot, and also had an effect on informational tweets. Retweets drove most activity, and users also shared information and formed communal dialogue within their own networks. Despite the dominance of negative emotive cues and responses to the crisis, positive tweets e those singing praises and thanking stakeholders e were more likely to be retweeted.
    Computers in Human Behavior 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.047 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "There are many useful features that computer mediated tools afford users, including enhancing social interaction (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). Social networks have been shown to influence community attachment and social ties among community members (Kavanaugh, Carroll, Rosson, Zin, & Reese, 2005), and these tools are also useful for those who have low ties to neighbors as well (Bargh & McKenna, 2004). Community members could coordinate evacuation preparations with others before a disaster, or the technology could be used in some fashion after a disaster to check on another's well-being or recovery plans. "
    Computers in Human Behavior 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.045 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Prior literature suggests that social exclusion may draw attention to resources that could facilitate social connections (DeWall, Maner, & Rouby, 2009; Williams, 2007). If online social networking has become a popular means of establishing and maintaining social connections in the information age (Bargh & McKenna, 2004; Ellison et al., 2007; Haythornthwaite, 2005), will thinking about SNS (i.e., available social connections) interrupt the perceived distress associated with social exclusion? Determining whether the idea of online social networking is related to the experience of social exclusion is pertinent for understanding how strongly SNS have become a potential source of social connections in contemporary social life. "
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    ABSTRACT: Social networking sites (SNS) are extremely popular for providing users with an efficient platform for acquiring social links. We experimentally explored whether priming with SNS would interfere with perceptions of social exclusion experiences. Experiment 1, involving 96 undergraduate Facebook users, demonstrated that priming with SNS was associated with decreased distress experienced in an online virtual ball-tossing game (the exclusionary Cyberball). Felt relatedness mediated the link between SNS primes and reduced social distress. Experiment 2, involving 88 current users of Facebook, showed that thoughts of losing SNS intensified distress caused by social exclusion, suggesting that the loss of SNS appears to signify the loss of a potential source of social reconnection. Moreover, the magnifying effect of SNS’ unavailability on the distress associated with social exclusion was more prominent for heavy users. This research provides the first demonstration that SNS (or the loss thereof) can neutralize (augment) perceived distress related to social exclusion. Our findings indicate that online social networking may more profoundly influence how users experience social exclusion in the information age than previously believed.
    Computers in Human Behavior 08/2015; 49. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.064 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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