[Air-L] Follow-up to Netville study

Keith N. Hampton khampton at asc.upenn.edu
Wed Oct 17 06:05:08 PDT 2007

If you are interested in a follow-up to the "Neighboring in Netville" paper
that appeared in City & Community in 2003. My longitudinal study that builds
on that project is in the current issue Information Communication & Society

"Neighborhoods in the Network Society: The e-Neighbors study" 

This study examines whether the Internet is increasingly a part of everyday
neighborhood interactions, and in what specific contexts Internet use
affords the formation of local social ties. Studies of Internet and
community have found that information and communication technologies provide
new opportunities for social interaction, but that they may also increase
privatism by isolating people in their homes. This paper argues that while
the Internet may encourage communication across great distances, it may also
facilitate interactions near the home. Unlike traditional community
networking studies, which focus on bridging the digital divide, this study
focuses on bridging the divide between the electronic and parochial realms.
Detailed, longitudinal social network surveys were completed with the
residents of four contrasting neighborhoods over a period of three years.
Three of the four neighborhoods were provided with a neighborhood email
discussion list and a neighborhood website. Hierarchical linear modeling
(HLM) was used to model over time the number of strong and weak ties,
emailed, met in-person, and talked to on the telephone. The neighborhood
email lists were also analyzed for content. The results suggest that with
experience using the Internet, the size of local social networks and email
communication with local networks increases. The addition of a neighborhood
email list further increases the number of weak neighborhood ties, but does
not increase communication multiplexity. However, neighborhood effects
reduce the influence of everyday Internet use, as well as the experimental
intervention, in communities that lack the context to support local tie


Keith N. Hampton
Assistant Professor
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania
3620 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 

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