Disenchanting the World: The Impact of Technology on Relationships

  • Paolo Parigi
  • Bogdan State
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8851)


We explore the impact of technology on the strength of friendship ties. Data come from about two millions ties that members of CouchSurfing—an international hospitality organization whose goal is to promote travelling and friendship between its members—developed between 2003 and 2011 as well as original and secondary ethnographic data. The community, and the data available about its members, grew exponentially during our period of analysis, yet friendships between users tended to be stronger in the early years of CouchSurfing, when the online reputation system was still developing and the whole network was enmeshed in considerable uncertainty. We argue that this case illustrates a process of disenchantment created by technology, where technology increases the ease with which we form friendships around common cultural interests and, at the same time, diminishes the bonding power of these experiences.


On-line Communities Uncertainty Networks 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Parigi
    • 1
  • Bogdan State
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford UniversityUSA

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