The Internet and Social Life

NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, New York, United States
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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    • "As Internet is embedded with more accessible by the introduction of mobile phones, the unique features and communication patterns of mobile technologies may provide adolescents with the benefits of not only more contacts with family members but also yield more freedom and convenience away from parents' control. For example, the relative anonymity of Internet makes the development of new relationship online easier than faceto-face communication by reducing the risks from disclosure (Bargh and McKenna, 2004). In a study Ribak (2009) showed that adolescents' use of mobile phones increased their intimacy with family but at the same time created distance across different generations in a family. "

    Preview · Article · Dec 2015
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    • "In addition, anonymity fosters closer relationship formation by reducing the risks associated with self-disclosure, allowing individuals to share more (Bargh & McKenna, 2004). When individuals disclose key aspects about themselves, it leads to the formation of closer relationships (Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons, 2002; McKenna, Green, & Gleason, 2002) and they consider the relationship important to their identity (McKenna et al., 2002). "

    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Human Technology
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    • "Although the studies described here all confirm a link between social media and civic engagement, the relationship is rather weak or indirect in some cases, suggesting a mediating role of social media in this process. In summary, media use is often guided by the interaction between the features of the platforms and the context of use (such as the purposes, goals and needs of human agents) (Bargh and McKenna, 2004) which helps us understand the diverse findings on the relationship between social media and civic engagement. Additionally, the measures of civic participation differ across all studies, but this can be partly explained by cultural, geographic and institutional differences in which civic participation was examined. "
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    ABSTRACT: This meta-analytic study reviews empirical research published from 2007 to 2013 with an aim of providing robust conclusions about the relationship between social media use and citizen engagement. It includes 22 studies that used self-reported measures of social media use and participation, with a total of 116 relationships/effects. The results suggest that social media use generally has a positive relationship with engagement and its three sub-categories, that is, social capital, civic engagement, and political participation. More specifically, we find small-to-medium size positive relationships between expressive, informational, and relational uses of social media and the above indicators of citizen engagement. For identity- and entertainment-oriented uses of social media, our analyses find little evidence supporting their relationship with citizen engagement.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · New Media & Society
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