Personal Connections in the Digital Age, 2nd Edition
May 2015, Polity
The internet and the mobile phone have disrupted many of our conventional understandings of ourselves and our relationships, raising anxieties and hopes about their effects on our lives. In this second edition of her timely and vibrant book, Nancy Baym provides frameworks for thinking critically about the roles of digital media in personal relationships. Rather than providing exuberant accounts or cautionary tales, it offers a data-grounded primer on how to make sense of these important changes in relational life
Fully updated to reflect new developments in technology and digital scholarship, the book identifies the core relational issues these media disturb and shows how our talk about them echoes historical discussions about earlier communication technologies. Chapters explore how we use mediated language and nonverbal behavior to develop and maintain communities, social networks, and new relationships, and to maintain existing relationships in our everyday lives. The book combines research findings with lively examples to address questions such as: Can mediated interaction be warm and personal? Are people honest about themselves online? Can relationships that start online work? Do digital media damage the other relationships in our lives? Throughout, the book argues that these questions must be answered with firm understandings of media qualities and the social and personal contexts in which they are developed and used.
This new edition of Personal Connections in the Digital Age will be required reading for all students and scholars of media, communication studies, and sociology, as well as all those who want a richer understanding of digital media and everyday life.
2. Making new media make sense
3. Communication in digital spaces
4. Communities and networks
5. New relationships, new selves?
6. Digital media in everyday relationships
Conclusion: the myth of cyberspace
"New communications technologies are always hyped by some people and denounced by others. Nancy Baym’s brilliant book explodes myths and challenges stereotypes. Her clear-sighted and penetrating analysis provides the mental toolkit needed to reach a more nuanced view of the social impact of digital media."
Tom Standage, Digital Editor, The Economist
"In this lucid yet learned book, Nancy Baym covers a breadth of analysis on whether and how the internet and mobile communication are reconfiguring our identities and personal relationships. While recognising the many continuities in our social life from offline to online, she also notes some signs of optimism, showing how we may yet build new, perhaps better, personal connections in the digital age."
Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science