Two social lives: How differences between online and offline interaction influence social outcomes

Lieberman, A., & Schroeder, J. (2019). Two social lives: How differences between online and offline interaction influence social outcomes. ScienceDirect, Current Opinion in Psychology

  • Short Summary: For hundreds of thousands of years, humans only communicated in-person, but in just the past fifty years they have started also communicating online. Today, people communicate more online than offline. What does this shift mean for human social life? We identify four structural differences between online (vs. offline) interaction: 1) fewer nonverbal cues, 2) greater anonymity, 3) more opportunity to form new social ties and bolster weak ties, and 4) wider dissemination of information. Each of these differences underlie systematic psychological and behavioral consequences. Online and offline lives often intersect; we further review how online engagement can (1) disrupt or (2) enhance offline interaction. This work provides a framework for studying the influence of technology on social life.

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