Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Posts tagged ‘online friendship’

Who Acquires Friends Through Social Media and Why?

Tufekci, Z. (2010). Who Acquires Friends Through Social Media and Why ? “ Rich Get Richer ” versus “ Seek and Ye Shall Find ” Online Friendship : The Subject Never Dies. Media. AAAI Press.

There is an ongoing debate, not just among academics but in popular culture, about whether social media can expand peoples social networks, and whether online friends can be real friends. The debate refuses to die. This paper addresses this question subjectively, from the point of view of the user, and examines predictors of acquiring new friends through social media use. This is a multi-method study with quantitative (n=617) and qualitative sections. Some previous studies have found a rich-get-richer effect where people who are socially active offline benefit most from online interactions. This paper examines whether online social ties become real friends subject to a selffulfilling prophecy: those who do not believe in online friendships are not likely to make such connections. I compare the Rich Get Richer and Seek and Ye Shall Find models by examining relationships between the amount of offline socializing, amount of online social activity and the belief in online friendships. Respondents attitudes as to online sociality are qualitatively examined. The results support one of the earliest theories of computermediated- communication: hyperpersonal interaction. It appears that some people perceive online interaction to concentrate on the conversation itself, rather than on appearances, and find it to be freer of social judgments. On the other hand, for other people, face-to-face interaction has inimitable features that simply cannot be replicated or replaced. African-Americans are significantly more likely to meet new friends online. This study contradicts the idea that people who are more social offline are more social online, as well as the notion that it is only the social misfits who use social media to make new friends as there was no difference in the number of offline friends between those who made new friends online and those who did not.

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Is there a real difference between virtual and real friendships?

Zinoviev, D., & Duong, V. (2009). Toward Understanding Friendship in Online Social Networks. International Journal.

All major on-line social networks, such as MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Orkut, are built around the concept of friendship. It is not uncommon for a social network participant to have over 100 friends. A natural question arises: are they all real friends of hers, or does she mean something different when she calls them “friends?” Speaking in other words, what is the relationship between off-line (real, traditional) friendship and its on-line (virtual) namesake? In this paper, we use sociological data to suggest that there is a significant difference between the concepts of virtual and real friendships. We further investigate the structure of on-line friendship and observe that it follows the Pareto (or double Pareto) distribution and is subject to age stratification but not to gender segregation. We introduce the concept of digital personality that quantifies the willingness of a social network participant to engage in virtual friendships.

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