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8. Communication in the Internet Age

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Chapter Summary

From its origins in the 1960s to the present day, the Internet has evolved from a mere idea for improving scientific and military exchange to a popular communication vehicle that enjoys a 34 percent global penetration rate. This chapter examines the sociological implications of this burgeoning technology, including not just the Internet, but related information communication technologies (ICT) such as mobile cellular signals, mobile phones, hand-held computers, smart robots, avatars, etc. Specifically, it explores issues of ICT access and social equality, the impact of ICT on central social processes such as community formation, connectivity, and intimacy, the influence of ICT on the conception of social interactants, and ICT and privacy. The bias against mediated communication as a vehicle of true intimacy is well established.

Keywords: community formation; information communication technologies (ICT); social equality; social interactants; true intimacy



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