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.
* Exam copies only available to lecturers for whom the book may be suitable as a course text.
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"Lively and thought-provoking throughout, this book challenges the myth that ‘cyberspace' dramatically transforms personal connections by revealing, instead, the complex and subtle ways in which people manage social interaction online and offline in response to the affordances of the various modes of communication available."
Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and author of Children and the Internet
"Something is happening. Do you know what it is? Nancy Baym does, with a book bristling with ideas and authority. Filled with clear, lively writing, she both surveys and advances the field. I learned so much."
Barry Wellman, University of Toronto
"Baym provides us a clear, concise, and thought-provoking discussion of the role of new digital media our interpersonal and societal relationships. She creates a welcome blend of her own and others' research, the affordances and capabilities of new media, historical and technical contexts of the telegraph through the Internet, stable as well as changing societal norms, and her own Internet experiences."
Ronald E. Rice, University of California, Santa Barbara
CHAPTER ONE: New forms of personal connection.
CHAPTER TWO: Making New Media make sense.
CHAPTER THREE: Communication in digital spaces.
CHAPTER FOUR: Communities and Networks.
CHAPTER FIVE: New relationships, new selves?
CHAPTER SIX: Digital media in relational development and maintenance.
CONCLUSION: The myth of cyberspace.