The Internet and Sociability

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Nie and Baym, Zhang, and Lin disagree about the effects of internet use on human sociability; and although both of these papers discuss the impact of internet use on the quantity and quality of interpersonal communication and sociability, they greatly contrast each other, as they take different sides to a popular debate. Nie takes the role of stating that the biggest debate is whether or not the internet will create social isolation, or if it will enhance our sociability. Although Nie recognizes the possibility of the internet being useful for inter-personal communications, he most certainly highlights many negative aspects to how the internet will be detrimental to our sociability. A major concern proposed by Nie is the finding that as internet use increases, time spent with family and friends will decrease; and this is because the internet has many constraints on an individuals time, as time spent on the internet is replacing valuable time that used to be spent on friends, family, work, and general daily activities and chores. Nie criticizes a few studies about sociability and the internet because they do not factor in the amount of time spent on the internet, and because hours of use will increases with the years of use, it will only create more time constraints and therefore, it will create even more social ramifications. Nie further develops his argument by discussing how the internet effects leisure and work time. For example, face-to-face communication is suffering in the workplace because of email, and how it inhibits social exchanges that once took place. Furthermore, web and email take away socio-emotional well being such as kisses, embraces, and giggles as written communication cannot create such equivalent behavior. Internet use, in Nie's opinion, will only lead to negative social outcomes such as less time spent with family, friends; as well as less social involvement, and will therefore increase loneliness and depression.

Baym, Lin, and...
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