, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1911-1927
Date: 15 May 2013

Bowling alone but tweeting together: the evolution of human interaction in the social networking era

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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to theoretically analyze how human interaction may evolve in a world characterized by the explosion of online networking and other Web-mediated ways of building and nurturing relationships. The analysis shows that online networking yields a storage mechanism through which any individual contribution—e.g. a blog post, a comment, or a photo—is stored within a particular network and ready for virtual access by each member who connects to the network. When someone provides feedback, for example by commenting on a note, or by replying to a message, the interaction is finalized. These interactions are asynchronous, i.e. they allow individuals to relate in different moments, whenever they have time to. When the social environment is poor of participation opportunities and/or the pressure on time increases (for example due to the need to increase the working time), the stock of information and ties stored in the Internet can help individuals to defend their sociability.