Chapter

Computer-mediated Relationships

Kendall Lori

in Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230361
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935983 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230361.003.0006
Computer-mediated Relationships

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This chapter describes the relationships among people on BlueSky and some surprising advantages and disadvantages of socializing online. Online life focuses on friendship rather than romance or aggression while BlueSky has its share of romances, most of the relationships among participants range between acquaintanceship and friendship. Participants point to these friendships as a primary benefit of online participation. The paucity of studies on offline friendship groups makes it difficult to compare BlueSky's friendships with offline relationships. In addition, as the few existing studies on friendship point out, the very term friendship is both vague and symbolically charged and may denote many different types of relationship. It also examines some of the reasons people still find face-to-face contact important. Further it emphasizes how friendships provide an important arena for the performance of gendered identities, and demonstrates some of the ways people enact understandings of gender through group conversations. It argues that gender underlies and informs all relationships with others and that friendships recognize, reinforce, and/or reconstruct gendered identities.

Keywords: friendship; relationships; gendered identities; BlueSky; socializing online

Chapter.  15505 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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