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Just a note that Jim Katz, Philip Aspden and I have been analyzing survey
data on Internet uses and effects from national representative telephone
surveys in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2000.  We find some positive associations
between Internet usage and increased participation in community
organizations, use of some traditional media for communicating with friends,
greater communication with family, greater communication with friends,
development of some friendships online (which are evaluted very positively),
although less knowledge of the 10 closest neighbors. In analyses I am doing
now, Internet users are generally more sociable (in 1995) and have a greater
sense of belonging (in 2000), and are not more introverted (in 2000).  They
also tend to like reading newspapers and listening to the radio more, and
watching TV less, than nonusers.   For a summary, see the paper that will
appear in Wellman's edited book, and which is to appear in American
Behavioral Scientist, at: www.scils.rutgers.edu/~rrice/syntopia.htm

While Bob Kraut and colleagues have done an excellent and rigorous job, and
is perfectly willing and ready to report current results that oppose his
initial results, and Barry Wellman has done recent yeoman work on the
Internet and social ties, it simply is not true that no one has studied the
relationship of the Internet with social interaction before, and not true
that the earliest of these studies were the Kraut et al. paper or the 2000
Pew survey.

Just a small contribution to the scientific communication discourse.
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Ronald E. Rice
Professor, Chair of Department of Communication
School of Communication, Information & Library Studies
Rutgers University
4 Huntington St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1071
w: 732-932-7381; f: 732-932-6916; e: [log in to unmask]
home page: http://scils.rutgers.edu/~rrice
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