Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness

Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness

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by Mary Chayko
     
 

“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,

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Overview

“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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791476000
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
10/09/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
318
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

I. Introduction: The Internet, Mobile Phones, and Community

1. The Portability of Social Connectedness

II. Internal Dynamics: Inside the Portable Community

2. Thinking in Tandem: Cognitive Connectedness

The Cognitive “Face” of the Community
Sociomental Space
Cognitive Resonance
Stories and Collective Memories
Proximity, Presence, and Reality

3. Feeling Connected: Emotionality and Intimacy

Friendship and Intimacy
Trust and Social Support
Happiness and Hostility: The Moderation of Moods and Behavior

4 Playing Around: Fun, Games, and Hanging Out

Games
Just “Hanging Out”
Playful Talk: Humor, Gossip, and Flirting
The Seductive Allure of Fun

5 Social Networking: Convenience, Practicality, and Sociability

Sociability
Convenience
Dating, Romance, and Sex
Learning, Working, and Getting Things Done

III. External Dynamics: The Portable Community in the Society

6 Being There: Constant Availability

Comfort and Companionship
Emergencies
Anxiety, Apprehension, and Overload
The Impact on Privacy

7 Harnessing Social Interaction: The Control of Time, Space, and People

Where, When, and Whether We Interact
Technology-Based Strategies for Interaction
Spontaneity and Social Interaction

8 Creating, Expressing, and Extending the Self(and Watching Others Do So)

Socialization in a Technological Age
The Making and Remaking of the Self
Voyeurism, Watching, and Lurking
Multitasking and the “Hyperlinking” of Identity

9 Shaping the Social Landscape: Equalities, Inequalities, Possibilities

Technological Divides and Power Differentials
Old Problems, New Angles
Agency and Activism: Mobilizing for Social Change
A Look Ahead

Acknowledgments
Appendix 1. The Methodology
Appendix 2: Profiles of Interview Subjects
Notes
References
Index

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