Social relationships and shifts

William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Leonardo DiCaprio

The existence of the Internet and social media allows us to visualize the relationships people have with others. Just as the Internet is a system of connected computers, our personal relationships reflect the same connectedness.

Social Capital

An individual’s relationship with others has existing resources that can be accessed, mobilized and utilized that can provide economic or non-economic goals.

Relationships are social ties, but what are these ties? These can include friendships, kinship, financial exchanges, sexual relationships, etc. These can be either weak or strong, indirect, or direct.

Gains vary from person to person. Individual level gains are larger if the network is larger. Social capital sets apart social strata (Bourbieu, 1986), and is also a source of social control (Coleman, 1988).

However, on a societal level, there are arguments about if a society is more connected, it is more powerful in terms of knowledge and vibrance (Putnam, 1993).

There are five dimensions of social capital.

  1. Networks — lateral associations that vary in density and size, and occur among both individuals and groups
  2. Reciprocity — expectation that in short or long term kindness and services will be returned
  3. Trust — willingness to take initiatives (or risk) in a social context based on assumption that others will respond as expected
  4. Social norms — unwritten shared values that direct behavior and interaction
  5. Personal and collective efficacy — the active and willing engagement of citizens within participative community

New media impacts on social networks

As the network grows, the way to connect them and understand them increases.

The previously definitions definitions that exist in usual sociological context, become blurred because of the fact Internet’s ability for instant connections with anyone.

Reciprocity exists more quicker and efficiently online. Social actions are different from those in the offline world — its more efficient, spontaneous, quicker. However, these relationships also have a lower level of commitment, leading to a faster dissipation.

The age of hyper-social relationships — digitally mediated interpersonal communication

The Johari window helps understand what we want to disclose, or not disclose. This is important for when we start new relationships and how we connect with others.

Self-disclosure in psychology is a basic social behavior. These are the most fundamental means to form social relationships, and are also extremely reciprocated. Altman’s social penetration theory speaks about self-disclosure in terms of the depth and breadth of how much you reveal.

Although people tend to disclose more about themselves online… Public communication in a private setting can cause you to self-disclose more spontaneously. Visual anonymity causes greater motivation for self-presentation.

International online self-disclosure can take form in blogging as a form of self-disclosure, public profile on SNS, personal websites. Unintentional online self-disclosure includes online photos/videos, browsing history, bookmarks, information about your friends.

Mark Knapp’s staircase model summarizes intimate relationships and their development and destruction. Coming together and coming apart… Initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, bonding… turns into differentiating, circumscribing, stagnating, avoiding, terminating. Relationships can stay at a certain stage indefinitely. How does CMC impact each of these relationship stages?