The Internet in Everyday Life

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Barry Wellman, Caroline Haythornthwaite
Wiley, Dec 13, 2002 - Social Science - 624 pages
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The Internet in Everyday Life is the first book to systematically investigate how being online fits into people's everyday lives.



  • Opens up a new line of inquiry into the social effects of the Internet.

  • Focuses on how the Internet fits into everyday lives, rather than considering it as an alternate world.

  • Chapters are contributed by leading researchers in the area.

  • Studies are based on empirical data.

  • Talks about the reality of being online now, not hopes or fears about the future effects of the Internet.

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I had hopes for this book. I was expecting it to be like Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, but I was left disappointed. It is basically just a collection of papers, most of which are based on more concise version of papers that appeared in the American Behavioral Scientist 45(3), which is freely available to students and academics with the right privileges. It's a beyond being paid for, but I found my library's copies of Social Computing: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications by Subhasish Dasgupta a more comprehensive edited work for the contemporary age of social networks on the Internet. If you're a student you can always get it by Inter-Library loan if your library doesn't have it, or ask your them to buy it as it's well worth reading - it is more up-to-date than this dated work, which is basically available online anyway. 

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About the author (2002)

Barry Wellman learned to keypunch in 1965 and started chatting online in 1976. Now the head of the University of Toronto's NetLab, he's a leading scholar of cybersociety, community, and social network analysis. Prof. Wellman has pioneered understanding of both communities and computer networks as social networks. He founded the International Network for Social Network Analysis, chaired the Community section of the American Sociological Association, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Association for Internet Research. He's written more than 200 articles and edited two other books. His website has received 20,000 hits in three years.

Caroline Haythornthwaite is a faculty member at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is also Coordinator of the Undergraduate Minor in Information Technology Studies. Before returning to full-time study, she spent over 10 years in software development as a programmer, systems analyst, and software development manager. Her research focuses on how people work and learn together at a distance via computer technology and the Internet, and examines what combinations of computer media, and work and social communications build ties and social networks online. Current projects include examination of learning networks and community ties among distance learners, and processes of knowledge co-construction among members of distributed research teams.

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