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The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Gustavo S. Mesch Department of Sociology and Anthropology University of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Gustavo S. Mesch Department of Sociology and Anthropology University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Gustavo S. Mesch Department of Sociology and Anthropology University of Haifa

2 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Naama(18, J, G) “Ahh…not really… you know using the Internet today is not like “WOW! I chatted today!!!!’ …. It's a regular, normal daily experience, like brushing your teeth every morning. Communication technologies are integrated in individuals’ everyday life. Internet provides a new space for relationship formation, expansion and diversification of adolescents’ social ties. Maintenance of intimate and non-intimate ties Formation of intimate and non-intimate social relationships.

3 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Internet as culture Social space in its own right Forms of communication, sociability, and identity that are produced within social space. Online ties replace face to face ties (Kraut et al, 1998, Slater, Bargh, McKenna & Fitzsimons, 2002, Turkle,1999). Weak ties (social presence, richness and lack of social clues). Strong ties (Hyper-sociability (Walther) emphasizes duration) virtual relationships are more intimate, richer, and liberating than offline relationships because they are based on genuine mutual interest rather than the coincidence of physical proximity. It is a zone of freedom, fluidity, and experimentation insulated from the mundane realities of the material world (Bargh, McKenna & Fitzsimons. 2002).

4 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Internet as a cultural artifact. Use and access reflect social inequalities. Technology is incorporated in the everyday life of individuals It is used as a means of communication within an offline social world (Howard, Rainie and Jones, 2002; Katz and Rice, 2002) Individuals use the Internet to do the old things in new ways The Internet is recognized as a new channel of communication, but its function is limited to supplementing the existing ones (face to face, cell phone, and phone) and in some cases displacing them (Hampton and Wellman, 2001; Baym, et al., 2004). Online are weak ties

5 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration The effect of the Internet on relationship formation has been studied (Internet as culture) The effect of the Internet on existing relationships has been widely studied (Internet as cultural artifact) There is a need for comparative studies of the quality of personal relationships created online and those created in face to face settings. The goal of the current study was 1. To investigate the differential quality of personal relationships created online and face to face.

6 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Social Diversification What is the motivation for online relationship formation? What are the content of offline/online ties? What is the result of these connection? (weak ties /strong ties). Two central concepts: Foci of Activity Social similarity

7 1. Relationship formation is a two step process: foci of activity provides opportunities and social similarity attraction. 2. Individuals sharing social statuses such as age, gender, proximity are more likely to associate as they are more likely to share interests and concerns. 3. Closeness requires trust and trust requires time. 4. Closeness requires shared identity.

8 Social Diversification 5 Shared identity, boundaries are reached through doing things together. 6. Closeness requires intimacy, achieved through self disclosure( topics of conversation). 7. Similarity in social position are exogenous factors that shape features of social interaction and shape quality of social ties. 8. Ultimately, social similarity shapes duration and content and these shape the strength of the social tie

9 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Focus: personal relationships during adolescence because: 1. Adolescents are early adopters. 2. During adolescence social ties outside the family expand (Giordano, 2003). 3. In interactions with peers, adolescents learn how to cooperate, to take different perspectives, and to satisfy growing needs for intimacy (Rubin, Bukowski & Parker, 1998; Crosnoe, 2000).

10 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration The perspective of the current paper is that quality of social ties is dependent Place in which the relationship was established (Online-face to face). Social similarity Length of the relationship Content of the relationship

11 Data and Methods Data: Survey of a representative sample of the adolescent population in Israel (age 12-18) (n=987) in Face to face interviews on time using the internet, frequency of internet use, purposes of internet use and ego-centric data on dyads of friends.

12 Dependent variables: Length of friendship: How long they know each friend Content Multiplexity: nine items indicating frequent topics of conversation (school, parents, family, friends, personal problems, music, tv programs, sports, romantic relationships). Scale from 0 to 4(high frequency). (alpha=.607) Activity multiplexity: 6 items on frequency of doing things together (meeting at homes, playing games, meeting at homes, meeting at school, meeting at extracurricular activities, meeting at parties). Scale 0-4 (alpha=.607) Strength of ties: items asking extent of closeness, trust, help seeking and importance. (alpha=.811).

13 Independent variables: Foci of activity : dummy variable (Place of first meeting the friend: face to face (school, neighborhood, extracurricualr activities) and online ( , messenger, chat room). Internet use: how long has access and daily frequency of use. Friends similarity: age, gender and place of residence similarity. Demographic characteristics: Age, gender, number of siblings, nationality and mother’s education.

14 Findings Sample Description

15 The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration

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19 OLS Regression Predicting Strength of ties

20 Discussion The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration 1. Association among individuals is not only shaped by computer mediated communication 2. Similarity in social characteristics are exogenous factors that cause individuals to associate 3. Once they have done so, duration, content, and activities shaped at least by social status shape the quality of association.

21 Discussion The Strength of Online and Offline Ties: The Role of Multiplexity and Duration Online friends are not less or more close than face to face friends History and content of the relationship, more than the channel of communication shapes the extent of closeness. Online relationships are limited because they are new and lack shared experiences that create the boundaries and shared identity of close relationships. Thank you Gustavo Mesch,

22 Mesch Gustavo S. and Ilan Talmud. Similarity and The Quality of Online and Offline Social Relationships among Adolescents in Israel. Journal of Research in Adolescence Mesch Gustavo and Ilan Talmud. Online Friendship Formation, Communication Channels, and Social Closeness. International Journal of Internet Sciences. Mesch, Gustavo and Ilan Talmud The Quality of Online and Offline Relationships, the role of multiplexity and duration. The Information Society, 22(3). Mesch, Gustavo and Ilan Talmud. (Forthcoming). Privacy and Networking: Ethnic Differences in the Use of Cell Phones and IM in Israel. In James Katz (ed). "Mobile Communication and Social Change in a Global Context" MIT Press.


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