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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17773

Title: Networking in Everyday Life
Authors: Hogan, Bernard John
Advisor: Wellman, Barry
Department: Sociology
Keywords: Network analysis
Media use
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: Contemporary networking in Canada, like most of the developed world, involves significant use of media to maintain relationships. This is not the use of media for faraway alters where in person contact is difficult, but media use within the very fabric of everyday life alongside in person contact. Past debates about the effects of new media have frequently focused on a medium's potential for social isolation. These debates have resulted in ambiguous, muted or contradictory findings. So instead of suggesting another response to the issue of social isolation, this thesis reorients the focus towards a different question: under what conditions are alters accessible and how does multiple media use affect this accessibility? Rather than suggest that new media simply offer "more" social accessibility, I contend that they complicate social accessibility by offering individuals increasingly differentiated ways to habitually maintain contact with each other. The result of this differentiation is that while individuals might be able to maintain contact with more alters (or at least just as many) in the abstract sense, they end up maintaining contact with the most accessible alters rather than alters with whom one has the strongest ties. This is the conundrum of multiple media use: how is it that each individual medium offers increased convenience but the sum total of media use makes life less convenient, more planned and more complicated? I suggest it is because media use cuts across longstanding social norms of public and private spaces (or public and private time) without offering a coherent normative framework as a substitute. Instead, individuals are differentially accessible via each medium. Moreover, this accessibility is related more to emergent personal habits than to tie strength. Data for this study comes from 350 random-sample surveys and 86 follow-up social network-oriented interviews in East York, a former borough on the east side of downtown Toronto, Canada. The data were collected in 2005, before the widespread adoption of social networking software, but after the widespread adoption of cellular telephones, instant messaging services and email.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17773
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Sociology - Doctoral theses

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