Quality & Quantity

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1911–1927 | Cite as

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

  • Angelo Antoci
  • Fabio SabatiniEmail author
  • Mauro Sodini


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.


Internet Computer-mediated communication Online networking Facebook Social networks Social capital 



We are grateful to two anonymous referees whose comments allowed a substantial improvement of the paper. Mauro Sodini acknowledges that this work has been performed within the activity of the PRIN project ‘Local interactions and global dynamics in economics and finance: models and tools’, MIUR, Italy. The paper also benefited from comments and suggestions by Alessandra Gualtieri. Needless to say, the usual caveats apply.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e AziendaliSassariItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Economia e DirittoSapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly
  3. 3.Laboratory for Comparative Social ResearchNational Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Economia e ManagementUniversità di PisaPisaItaly

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