Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness

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SUNY Press, Oct 23, 2008 - Social Science - 306 pages
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I blog, text, IM, email, and I don t like to be without my cell phone or have to shut it off even in a theater. Let s put it this way, my connections are more important than whatever I m doing that might force me to shut my cell phone off. A Member of a Portable Community

In contemporary American life, community has become a portable phenomenon you can get it to go wherever and whenever it is desired at the push of a button, mouse, or keyboard. In Portable Communities, sociologist Mary Chayko examines the social dynamics and implications of having access to countless others at any time. Teeming with the observations of people who blog, email, instant message, game, and chat on cell phones, wireless computers, and other portable devices, the book captures the appeal and the excitement, the challenges and the complexities, of online and mobile connectedness. Chayko considers some of the external dynamics that emerge as these communities resonate within the larger society constant availability, social interaction that is more controlled and controllable, and new opportunities for self-expression, creativity, and even voyeurism. Internal social dynamics involving emotionality, intimacy, play, romance, and networking are also fully explored. Portable Communities provides a unique view of shifts in the social landscape and points the way toward needed social and political change.
 

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Contents

THE PORTABILITY OF SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS
3
INTERNAL DYNAMICS Inside the Portable Community
15
THINKING IN TANDEM Cognitive Connectedness
17
THE COGNITIVE FACE OF THE COMMUNITY
18
SOCIOMENTAL SPACE
22
COGNITIVE RESONANCE
25
STORIES AND COLLECTIVE MEMORIES
31
PROXIMITY PRESENCE AND REALITY
37
COMFORT AND COMPANIONSHIP
114
EMERGENCIES
120
ANXIETY APPREHENSION AND OVERLOAD
124
THE IMPACT ON PRIVACY
130
Harnessing Social Interaction The Control of Time Space and People
141
WHERE WHEN AND WHETHER WE INTERACT
142
TECHNOLOGYBASED STRATEGIES FOR INTERACTION
145
SPONTANEITY AND SOCIAL INTERACTION
155

FEELING CONNECTED Emotionality and Intimacy
43
FRIENDSHIP AND INTIMACY
44
TRUST AND SOCIAL SUPPORT
51
THE MODERATION OF MOODS AND BEHAVIOR
56
PLAYING AROUND Fun Games and Hanging Out
63
GAMES
64
JUST HANGING OUT
69
HUMOR GOSSIP AND FLIRTING
73
THE SEDUCTIVE ALLURE OF FUN
78
SOCIAL NETWORKING Convenience Practicality and Sociability
87
SOCIABILITY
88
CONVENIENCE
93
DATING ROMANCE AND SEX
97
LEARNING WORKING AND GETTING THINGS DONE
101
EXTERNAL DYNAMICS The Portable Community in the Society
111
BEING THERE Constant Availability
113
CREATING EXPRESSING AND EXTENDING THE SELF and Watching Others Do So
159
SOCIALIZATION IN A TECHNOLOGICAL AGE
160
THE MAKING AND REMAKING OF THE SELF
166
VOYEURISM WATCHING AND LURKING
173
MULTITASKING AND THE HYPERLINKING OF IDENTITY
178
SHAPING A SOCIAL LANDSCAPE Equalities Inequalities Possibilities
183
TECHNOLOGICAL DIVIDES AND POWER DIFFERENTIALS
184
OLD PROBLEMS NEW ANGLES
186
MOBILIZING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
191
A LOOK AHEAD
197
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
203
THE METHODOLOGY
205
PROFILES OF INTERVIEW SUBJECTS
215
NOTES
233
REFERENCES
255
INDEX
291

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About the author (2008)

Mary Chayko is Professor of Sociology at the College of Saint Elizabeth and the author of Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age, also published by SUNY Press.

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