BOOKS/Scholarly Journals

1. Online Communication and Adolescent Relationships

By Kaveri Subrahmanyam and Patricia Greenfield

  • highlights the various types of relationships that are affected by online and digital communications within adolescent lives: Relationship with friends, romantic partners, strangers, family members.
  • In each type of relationship, the nature of interaction differs and is based on what platforms they are communicating with
  • highlights positive and negative aspects of online communication, evaluates the quality of communication and establishment of relationships through digital technologies

Interesting questions the article raises:

  • is time spent in online communication coming at the expense of time spent in face-to-face communication?
  • is time spent online substituting for time that would have been spent on the telephone in earlier eras?
  • is online communication changing the amount and nature of interaction with families/friends?
  • has the ease of electronic communication made us less interested in face-to-face communication?
  • Has the nature of the quality of relationships altered through online communication? if so, how and why?


Relationships with Friends

  • How online communication affects adolescent’s relationships and well-being, whether the effects are positive or negative (Subrahmanyam pg. 125) In many studies, it indicates that it is a positive effect:
    • A survey conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project in 2001 indicates that
      • 48% of online teens believe that the internet has improved their relationships with friends. The more frequently they use the internet, the more they back up this belief (pg 126)
      • 61% feel that time online does not take away from time spent with friends (pg 126)
    • 2006 Pew survey study on social networking sites within adolescent use indicates that girls use social media to reinforce pre-existing friendships. While boys use it to flirt and make new friends (pg 125).
  • teens exchange most of their text messages within peers (Rebecca E)
  • A study that logged text messages sent and received of 10 adolescents over 7 days indicated that text conversations often followed up with phone calls, instant messaging or face-to-face communication (Rebecca E). Logged texts were recorded to have mainly been for these 3 purposes:
    • chatting (talking about activities, events, gossip, homework help)
    • planning (coordinating meeting arrangements)
    • coordinating communication (planning about having conversations)


Relationships with romantic partners

  •  Similar to friendships, adolescents tend to use digital communication to reinforce existing romantic relationships (Subrahmanyam pg 128)
  • Online survey study done by Teenage Research Unlimited indicates that almost 1/4 of teens in romantic relationships have communicated with their partner hourly between midnight – 5am using cell phone or texting (Subrahmanyam pg 129).

Using 12,000 chatroom logs, researchers indicate that (Subrahmanyam pg 129):

  • participants that were older were more likely to search for partner
  • participants in study that were female were more likely to make partner requests
  • finding romantic partners has always been a part of teen development, study indicates that teens approach this more freely and frequently through online communications than offline communications
  • A study involving 1440 first year students at Michigan State University indicate (Subrahmanyam pg 130):
    • use Facebook to check up people they have met offline


Relationships with strangers and acquaintances

  • Subrahmanyam suggests that there are shifts in who we communicate with through technological devices. In earlier years, the introduction to chat rooms emphasized on communicating with strangers. Then with the establishing of text messaging and instant messaging, people have begun to connect more with offline friends. Recently video sharing, photo sharing, blogs and social networking have opened us up again to communicating with both offline peers and online acquaintances. (Subrahmanyam pg 130)
  • A study of 987 Israeli adolescents indicated that online friendships were shorter than offline ones and were not as close – topics discussed were not as personal and shared activities and similarities were fewer (Subrahmanyam pg 131)
  • A study involving participants aged 16-29 indicated that they felt offline relationships were higher in quality, but not when both offline and online relationships lasted more than a year. Indicates that online relationships can develop in quality over time (Subrahmanyam pg 131)
  •  A national survey that involved 1,501 youth, 256 of them reported they had close online relationships and out of those, 41% had face-to-face meetings with their online friend. Illustrates that online relationships can move offline and may further develop in quality Subrahmanyam pg 131).


Relationships with family members

  • A four year video study of thirty families with two working parents and children indicates that digital communication may have a negative impact on offline family relationships (Subrahmanyam pg 135):
    • when working parent came home, children were often so absorbed in their digital devices that they only greeted them 1 out of 3 times. Often with a short ‘hi’
    • about 50% of the time, the children completely ignored them
  • Another study by Gustavo Mesch found that family time was not affected through the use of computers when the purpose was for educational means. While social uses for the computer were found to have negative impacts on family time (Subrahmanyam pg 135)
  • Focus group with adolescents and parents in Norway indicates that (Subrahmanyam pg 135):
    • teens used their cell phones as generation boundaries that divided them from communication with their parents.
    • cell phone conflicted with family time and vacation time
  • Subrahmanyam suggests that the sacrifice of family relationships for peer relationships may be influenced by the individualization of communication.By this she means, adolescents are able to control who they talk to and what they talk about without any monitoring or filtering by parents (pg 136)


2. The Revolution in Digitized ICTs and Emergence of Social Networking Sites Transformed Traditional Media to New Mass Media: A Rise of New Age Media

By Mehar Singh and Amit Kumar Pahwa


Comparison between traditional media and digital media

According to Neuman – New Media will alter the meaning of geographic distance (pg.2)

  1. increase in volume of communication
  2. increase speed of communication
  3. introduction of interactive communication
  4. merge previous forms of communication that were once separate together
  • new technologies shifting who is control of information, the experience we gain in accessing this information and resources
  • social networking has put information output into citizen’s hands
  • able to participate in absorbing content and producing content through social media sites
  • advancement in power, storage capacity, and transmission capacity has allowed global telecommunication networks to continuously grow. Continues to make instant and limitless data transformation available globally
    • global number of internet users grown over 5 times from 2000-2010 (pg 7)


Difference between traditional media and social media (pg 4-5)

  1. Accessibility – both traditional and social media have the opportunity to reach a global audience, however, social media is able to do so at a lower cost. Traditional media production are typically government or privately owned, while social networking tools are available to the public for a low cost or no cost
  2. Usability – traditional media usually requires specific skills and training, whereas social network production is open to the public and requires basic computer skills
  3. Immediacy – time lag in communications from hours to days and months, social networking is immediate and is capable of instantaneous responses. Delay is determined by participants response
  4. Permanence – traditional media, once published or broadcasted, cannot be altered. With social media, things are flexible as you are able to edit, delete, rewrite, etc

In traditional media, communication was a one-way process to very large audiences, with digital media, it’s different in the following 5 ways (pg 3):

  1. Digitally – not grounded in analog technologies, information is stored, distributed and picked up through screen based devices
  2. Interactivity – able to participate in producing content and changes in how they absorb content. In new media, they are able to customize and choose what kind of information they would like to see in comparison to traditional media where it is a very linear one-way process of information access.
  3. Hypertextuality – inter-connectedness of information. Refers to links and connections that allow users to search and explore for content, customizing and putting control of what kind of information they are exposed to into their own hands.
  4. Dispersal – looking at how media “has become less centralized and more adapted to individual choices.” Technology is making a shift in the production of media content from media professionals to the general population
  5. Virtuality – refers to ability to immerse users into digital communities, interactive experiences and virtual worlds. Allowing users to create new identities for themselves.

New Media rids of space and time barriers in communication (pg 4):

  • Internet globalization, broadened distribution of information to global audience. In comparison to traditional media where mass communication was usually grounded nationally (e.g. news broadcasts, newspaper circulations).
  • democratized media production
  • allowed users around the world to connect instantaneously
  • bringing people from different areas around the world onto one platform while promoting cultural diversity
  • ‘blurring boundaries between broadcasting and computing industries in terms of roles, functions and economic scale’



3. Why Rumours Spread So Quickly in Social Networks

By Benjamin Doer, Mahmoud Fouz, and Tobias Friedrich


4. Social Features of Online Networks: The Strength of Intermediary Ties in Online Social Media

By Przemyslaw A. Grabowicz, José J. Ramasco, Esteban Moro et al




How the Internet Enables Intimacy (Stefana Broadbent)


  • Stefana argues that if you step back 15 years ago, there was a very clear distinction between private sphere and public sphere. In the past, as soon as you walked into a professional setting, private sphere was left behind you. Expectation was once you moved into the setting, your focus was to be put in task at hand.
  • This convention only started around 150 years ago around the time of the industrial revolution when people needed to leave their homes and go out for work. There was a very clear distinction between the private and the public sphere. Still today, we find ourselves in a similar mindset where suburban areas are seen to be very distinct from production and commercial areas.
  •  Idea that once you step into a public sphere, you leave the private sphere behind. Stefana highlights how digital media breaks this convention and has promoted people to keep in contact with private aspect of life throughout the day in all sorts of situations.
  • 75% of people admit to holding private conversation from work on mobile phones where 100% of those are done through text messaging.
  • 50% of anyone with email access at work, is doing private email (The Pew Institute)
  • Mentions that many institutions are trying to block this access. Schools banning mobile use, companies blocking access to Facebook and other social media sites. Stefana argues that institutions are trying to decide whether they should or not be isolated, are trying to block this movement of greater possibility of intimacy.
  • “Breaking imposed isolation by institutions that are imposing it on them. A reappropriation of the personal sphere. Merging of public and personal sphere.”

The History of Communication Technology (Rachel Levy Sarfin)


Impact of Technology On Our Life (James Hall)


The Impact of Social Technology (James Hall)


Has Digital Technology Enhanced the Quality of Communication? (David Rosen)



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