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Social networks and Internet connectivity effects

Social networks and Internet connectivity effects This paper explores the impact of communication media and the Internet on connectivity between people. Results from a series of social network studies of media use are used as background for exploration of these impacts. These studies explored the use of all available media among members of an academic research group and among distance learners. Asking about media use as well as about the strength of the tie between communicating pairs revealed that those more strongly tied used more media to communicate than weak ties, and that media use within groups conformed to a unidimensional scale, showing a configuration of different tiers of media use supporting social networks of different ties strengths. These results lead to a number of implications regarding media and Internet connectivity, including: how media use can be added to characteristics of social network ties; how introducing a medium can create latent tie connectivity among group members that provides the technical means for activating weak ties, and also how a change in a medium can disrupt existing weak tie networks; how the tiers of media use also suggest that certain media support different kinds of information flow; and the importance of organization-level decisions about what media to provide and promote. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for Internet effects. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png "Information, Communication and Society" Taylor & Francis

Social networks and Internet connectivity effects

23 pages

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References (61)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1468-4462
eISSN
1369-118X
DOI
10.1080/13691180500146185
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of communication media and the Internet on connectivity between people. Results from a series of social network studies of media use are used as background for exploration of these impacts. These studies explored the use of all available media among members of an academic research group and among distance learners. Asking about media use as well as about the strength of the tie between communicating pairs revealed that those more strongly tied used more media to communicate than weak ties, and that media use within groups conformed to a unidimensional scale, showing a configuration of different tiers of media use supporting social networks of different ties strengths. These results lead to a number of implications regarding media and Internet connectivity, including: how media use can be added to characteristics of social network ties; how introducing a medium can create latent tie connectivity among group members that provides the technical means for activating weak ties, and also how a change in a medium can disrupt existing weak tie networks; how the tiers of media use also suggest that certain media support different kinds of information flow; and the importance of organization-level decisions about what media to provide and promote. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for Internet effects.

Journal

"Information, Communication and Society"Taylor & Francis

Published: Jun 1, 2005

Keywords: social networks; computer-mediated communication; latent ties; strong ties; weak ties; communication theory; Internet

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