query: using the Internet to organize opinion
colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Mar 31 08:16:16 CST 2004
[ed: thanks to Gary for replying to Claudius' query.]
Colleagues, Barry Wellman and his new book probably have a lot to
contribute to this inquiry and discussion. I attach below Barry's own
overview of his book, some reviews and its Table of Contents for those
who may not have seen this on the Sociology Urban Community list
Best wishes and peace,
Augsburg College, Mpls, MN
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 18:12:37 -0500
From: Barry Wellman <wellman at CHASS.UTORONTO.CA>
Subject: Internet in Everyday Life
Folks, I'm proud of my new co-edited book about community on and
Here, one time only, is some description.
Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director
wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto
455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-
_The Internet in Everyday Life_
Barry Wellman and Caroline Haythornthwaite, eds.
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. November 2002. 588 pages.
Price: USD $27.95; Euros 20.36; CdnD $44.03; BritPounds 317.95
>From the back cover:
The _Internet in Everyday Life_ brings together pioneering studies that
systematically investigate how being online fits into everyday lives.
Until now, the Internet has been treated and discussed as detached
from daily life, occupying some separate sphere of social endeavor.
This collection of original articles from leading scholars in North
America, Asia, and Europe moves discussion of the Internet closer to
home, showing how the Internet does not exist "out there" but is instead
an integral part of daily work and home life.
Contributors show who is on the Internet and what they are doing there.
They debate whether the Internet adds to or detracts from the well
being of individuals, communities, and societies. They demonstrate how
the Internet affects friendship, social capital, social support, civic
involvement, school, work, and shopping. They reveal the extent to
which the Internet is supporting new forms of human relationships, and
describe what gets dropped and strained when Internet hours are
added to already full schedules.
The book goes beyond speculation to provide solid findings. Surveys,
interviews, and field observations inform analyses of behavior on and
with the Internet. Taken as a whole, this body of evidence should raise
the level of debate about the impact of the Internet and raises serious
questions about the popular myth that Internet use increases social
Excerpts from the Editors' Introduction,
Barry Wellman and Caroline Haythornthwaite:
_The Internet in Everyday Life_ is about the second age of the Internet
as it descends from the firmament and becomes embedded in everyday
life. The first age of the Internet was a bright light shining above
everyday concerns. In the euphoria, many analysts lost their
perspective. The rapid contraction of the dot.com economy has brought
down to earth the once-euphoric belief in the infinite possibility of
It is not as if the Internet disappeared. Instead, the light that dazzled
overhead has become embedded in everyday things. A reality check is
now underway about where the Internet fits into the ways in which
people behave offline as well as online. We are moving from a world of
Internet wizards to a world of ordinary people routinely using the
Internet as an embedded part of their lives. It has become clear that the
Internet is a very important thing, but not a special thing. In fact, it is
being used more - by more people, in more countries, in more ways.
This book is a harbinger of a new way of thinking about the Internet: not
as a special system but as routinely incorporated into everyday life....
The studies presented here begin the tasks of broadening our focus
from the Internet to the social worlds in which it is embroiled.
The research in this book focuses on the relationship between the
Intern et and interpersonal relationships. It speaks to issues about th= e
social consequences of adding the Internet to our daily lives. It explores
how the Internet affects social and communal behaviors. The studies
address key questions about the impact of the Internet on friendships,
civic involvement, and time spent with others.
Who is online and who is coming online (and not coming)? How much
time do they spend online? How does the Internet affect relationships
within households, and with family, friends, voluntary organizations,
schoolmates, and workmates?
The research presented suggests that the Internet has accentuated a
chan ge towards a networked society: a turn toward living in networks
rather than in groups. The personalization, portability, ubiquitous
connectivity, and imminent wireless mobility of the Internet all facilitate
networked individualism as the basis of community.
Excerpts from Manuel Castells' Preface:
This book is precious. It provides us with reliable, scholarly research
on the hows and whats of the Internet as it relates to people's lives.
The Internet is rapidly becoming part of the fabric of our lives, not on ly
in the advanced societies but in the core acitivites and dominant social
groups in most of the world.... [These are] academic researchers setting
the record straight, engaging into the exploration of a new society, our
society, the network society.... [They describe] electronic networks that
simultaneously coordinate decision-making and decentralize production
and distribution throughout the planet.... [This is] a global movement
enacted by and with the Internet.... The emerging pattern is one of self-
directed networking, both in terms of social relationships and in terms of
The Internet is not just a tool; it is an essential medium for the netwo rk
society to unfold its logic.... It is by investigating along t= he lines
suggested in this volume that we will be able to assess its contour and
its implications. The network is the message, and the Internet is the
Excerpts from Howard Rheingold's Foreword:
Social scientists have pulled ahead of anecdotal evidence and armchair
theorizing to provide significant answers to some of society's most
important questions about social behavior via online media.... Good
information is now available, but it's still drowned out by the noise. The
next step is getting that news out.
The current volume provides useful answers. Most importantly, it
frames the right kinds of questions about the ways in which the se of
Internet-enabled media affect everyday lives. Each chapter in this
volume should stimulate others to ask even more specific questions, as
all good research should.
Now that the authors of this volume ... have established a solid
foundation of systematic observation and theory about the ways the
Internet influences everyday life, perhaps we won't have to rely on
data-free philosophizing to make policy decisions as citizens and
>From Brian D. Loader, Journal Editor, Information, Communication &
The editors are to be congratulated for pulling together a collection of
excellent articles that will make a valuable contribution to empirically
grounding discussions about the effects of the Internet on our everyday
life experiences. [Back cover]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword - The Virtual Community in the Real World, by Howard
Series Editor's Preface: The Internet and the Network Society,
by Manuel Castells
Part I - Moving the Internet out of Cyberspace
The Internet in Everyday Life: An Introduction, by Caroline
Haythornthwaite and Barry Wellman
Part II - The Place of the Internet in Everyday Life
1. Days and Nights on the Internet, by Philip E. N. Howard, Lee Rainie,
and Steve Jones
2. The Global Villagers: Comparing Internet Users and Uses Around
World, by Wenhong Chen, Jeffrey Boase, and Barry Wellman
3. Syntopia: Access, Civic Involvement, and Social Interaction on the
James E. Katz and Ronald E. Rice
4. Digital Living: The Impact (or Otherwise) of the Internet on Everyday
British Life, Ben Anderson and Karina Tracey
5. The Changing Digital Divide in Germany, Gert G. Wagner, Rainer
Pischner, and John P. Haisken-DeNew
6. Doing Social Science Research Online, Alan Neustadtl, John P.
and Meyer Kestnbaum
Part III - Finding Time for the Internet
7. Internet Use, Interpersonal Relations, and Sociability: A Time Diary
Study, by Norman H. Nie, D. Sunshine Hillygus, and Lutz Erbring
8. The Internet and Other Uses of Time, by John P. Robinson, Meyer
Kestnbaum, Alan Neustadtl, and Anthony S. Alvarez
9. Everyday Communication Patters of Heavy and Light Email Users,
I. Copher, Alaina G. Kanfer, and Mary Bea Walker
Part IV - The Internet in the Community
10. Capitalizing on the Net: Social Contact, Civic Engagement, and
of Community, by Anabel Quan-Haase and Barry Wellman, with James
and Keith N. Hampton
11. The Impact of Community Computer Networks on Social Capital
Community Involvement in Blacksburg, Andrea L. Kavanaugh and Scott
12. The Not So Global Village of Netville, Keith N. Hampton and Barry
13. Email, Gender, and Personal Relationships, Bonka Boneva and
14. Belonging in Geographic, Ethnic and Internet Spaces, Sorin Matei
Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach
Part V - The Internet at School, Work, and Home
15. Bringing the Internet Home: Adult Distance Learners and Their
Internet, Home, and Work Worlds, by Caroline Haythornthwaite and
16. Where Home is the Office: The New Form of Flexible Work, by
17. Kerala Connections: Will the Internet Affect Science in Developing
Areas? Theresa Davidson, R. Sooryamoorthy, and Wesley Shrum
18. Social Support for Japanese Mothers Online and Offline, by Kakuko
19. Experience and Trust in Online Shopping, by Robert J. Lunn and
> From: blau123 at gmx.de
> We are all aware that the Internet is an
> efficient medium for communication and data
> retrieval. Community building via the Internet
> needs however an additional element: opinion
> formation, also called consensus building.
> In my opinion, the usual chat and discussion-forums
> currently available are not efficient tools for
> online-opinion formation. My query to the comm-org
> members is therefore for research and information
> on this topic.
> Of course I am aware that some
> specialized communities, like the open-source
> movement, are able to realized all issues relevant
> for community via the Internet, but it is not clear
> whether their informal approach would be suitable
> for the ordinary web-user.
> The background: I am involved in a project, the
> planned Foundation Future 25 (http://www.future25.org),
> which envisions an international community organized
> dominantly via Internet. We have some preliminary ideas,
> like the `Structured Opinion-Formation via Internet'
> or the `Result-Oriented Discussion Forums'
> for community-building online-tools, but you may have
> more experience with these issues.
> Sincerely yours,
> Claudius Gros < blau123 at gmx.de >
> +++ NEU bei GMX und erstmalig in Deutschland: T=DCV-
> +++ Virenschutz +++
> 100% Virenerkennung nach Wildlist. Infos:
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