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Personal Connections in the Digital Age



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Polity Pr
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  • Personal Connections in the Digital Age
    Personal Connections in the Digital Age


The internet and the mobile phone have disrupted many of our conventional understandings of our selves and our relationships, raising anxieties and hopes about their effects on our lives. This timely and vibrant book provides frameworks for thinking critically about the roles of digital media in personal relationships. Rather than providing exuberant accounts or cautionary tales, it offers a data-grounded primer on how to make sense of these important changes in relational life.The book identifies the core relational issues these media disturb and shows how the ways we talk about them echo historical discussions about earlier communication technologies. Chapters explore how we use mediated language and nonverbal behavior to develop and maintain communities, social networks, new relationships, and to maintain relationships in our everyday lives. It combines research findings with lively examples to address questions such as whether mediated interaction can be warm and personal, whether people are honest about themselves online, whether relationships that start online can work, and whether using these media damages the other relationships in our lives. Throughout, the book argues for approaching these questions with firm understandings of the qualities of media as well as the social and personal contexts in which they are developed and used.Personal Connections in the Digital Age will be required reading for all students and scholars of media, communication studies, and sociology, as well as all those who want a firmer understanding of digital media and everyday life.

Author Biography

Nancy K. Baym is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at University of Kansas

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. viii
New forms of personal connectionp. 1
New media, new boundariesp. 2
Plan of the bookp. 6
Seven key conceptsp. 6
Digital mediap. 13
Who uses new digital media?p. 17
Making new media make sensep. 22
Technological determinismp. 24
Social construction of technologyp. 39
Social shaping of technologyp. 44
Domestication of technologyp. 45
Communication in digital spacesp. 50
Mediation as impoverishmentp. 51
Putting social cues into digital communicationp. 59
Digital communication as a mixed modalityp. 63
Contextual influences on online communicationp. 66
Summaryp. 70
Communities and networksp. 72
Online communityp. 73
Networksp. 90
Engagement with local communityp. 92
Summaryp. 97
New relationships, new selves?p. 99
New relationships onlinep. 100
Identityp. 105
Authenticity and relationshipp. 119
Summaryp. 120
Digital media in relational development and maintenancep. 122
Building relationships with people we met onlinep. 124
Mediated relational maintenancep. 131
Uncertain normsp. 143
Summaryp. 148
Conclusion: the myth of cyberspacep. 150
Referencesp. 156
Index of namesp. 177
General indexp. 181
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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