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Society Online is not exclusively devoted to a particular technology, or specifically the Internet, but to a range of technologies and technological possibilities labeled "new media." Rather than trying to cover every possible topic relating to new communication technologies, this unique text is organized by how these new technologies mediate the community, political, economic, personal, and global spheres of our social lives. Editors Philip N. Howard and Steve Jones explore the multiple research methods that are required to understand the embeddedness of new media.
"Society Online is an ambitious collection of articles, delivering the next generation of careful but eloquent studies of Internet use and culture. Both accessible and varied treatments, rich array of methodological approaches, intriguing data and provocative thought frameworks await the reader who would be curious to see if the internet context is already converging on some stability or still oscillating in search of its impacts and identity."
"This is perhaps one of the most rigorously researched collections about online interactions and culture. The essays, based on a major initiative by the Pew Foundation, integrate data from other projects, such as the General Social Survey... The book is atheoretical, engaging little of technology studies, whether social construction of technology, actor-network theory, or others."
Posted January 28, 2010
Sage is wise to publish Steve Jone's Society Online since in some circles, it is thought that real society has moved online to a large degree except among the very young who tend to congregate in classrooms, and dormitory halls.
The inception and growth of the internet has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams to become a relevant vehicle for social communication, and promises the same for interactional and transactional based facilities. Courts have already planned for this outcome, and the projection is that it may displace every form of work environment in the future except the board meeting (and many of those are probably already held online).
With the advent of "skyping," the ability to see in real time the person contacted, the future holds nothing less than the potential for physical congregations to be replaced by the not so private, but personal internet for locating kindred souls, vibrant debaters, and myriads of persons with whom individuals have common interests. Jones is a visionary in making the observation and taking the leap to expose and research what is happening all around us.