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The sociology of the internet

The sociology of the internet

The sociology of the internet is a subfield of sociology where researchers focus on how the internet plays a role in facilitating communication and interaction and how it affects and is affected by social life.

In the late 1990s, the sudden widespread adoption of the internet in the US and other Western nations drew the attention of sociologists. Internet technology allowed for new forms of communication and information and new ways of spreading it. Sociologists wanted to understand how these would impact people's lives, the cultural patterns, social trends and larger social structure.


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Digital sociology in today's world

The roles of internet communication technologies (ICTs) have evolved in our lives, their impacts on social relations and society overall. So, too, the sociological approach to studying them has evolved.

Digital sociology now considers the variety of ICT devices we use in our lives, how we u...


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Historical view of sociology of the internet

Historical view of sociology of the internet

Paul DiMaggio and colleagues wrote the earliest sociological essay about this subfield, titled " Social Implications of the Internet."

It outlined the concerns within the internet, such as:

  • the digital divide
  • relationships between the internet and community and social cap...


356 reads

Development of Digital Sociology

Since 2012, a handful of sociologists have focused on defining the subfield of digital sociology. The subfield became formalised in the UK when the British Sociological Association members created a new study group designed to develop a set of best practices for digital sociology.

In the U....


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Key areas of study of digital sociology

Key areas of study of digital sociology

  • The impact of ICTs on social relationships. For example, the role that social media plays in teen friendships today, rules of etiquette.
  • How ICTs are a part of the processes of crafting and expressing identity.
  • The impact of ICTs and ...


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Television floor manager

Digital sociology offers a way of addressing the changing relationships we have in digital societies.

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