Month: April 2012

Instant Messaging Social Networks: Individual, Relational, and Cultural Characteristics

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Gustavo S. Mesch

Department of Sociology & Anthropology

University of Haifa, Israel

Ilan Talmud

                        Department of Sociology & Anthropology

University of Haifa, Israel

Anabel Quan-Haase 

Faculty of Information & Media Studies

University of Western Ontario, Canada


Abstract

Most research on social media tends to focus on individual or group level characteristics, neglecting to consider the influence of relational and cultural variables. To fill this void, we collected social network data in Israel (N = 492) and Canada (N = 293) to investigate the effect of individual, relational, and cultural variables on the frequency of communication via instant messaging (IM) and the multiplexity of communication topics. We found that geographic distance continues to matter in interpersonal contact in spite of heavy reliance on digital tools for connectivity. Similar patterns of association were discerned in both countries for propinquity, the use of IM, and closeness. We discuss the findings in terms of theories of networked individualism.

Soon to come in Journal of Personal and Social Relationships

Is online trust and trust in social institutions associated with online disclosure of identifiable information online?

NEW PAPER

Mesch, Gustavo S. (online). Is online trust and trust in social institutions associated with online disclosure of personal information online.

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Computers in Human Behaviorhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563212000763#FCANote

his study investigated the association between trust in individuals, social institutions and online trust on the disclosure of personal identifiable information online. Using the Internet attributes approach that argues that some structural characteristics of the Internet such as lack of social cues and controllability are conducive to a disinhibitive behavior it was expected that face to face trust and online trust will not be associated. In addition, it was expected that from the three components of trust, online trust only will be associated with the disclosure of identifiable personal information online. A secondary analysis of the 2009 Pew and American Life of Internet users (n = 1698) survey was conducted. In contrast with the Internet attribute approach the effect of trust in individuals and institutions was indirectly associated with the disclosure of identifiable information online. Trust in individuals and institutions were found to be associated with online trust. However, online trust only, was found to be associated with the disclosure of personal identifiable information. While trust online encourages the disclosure of identifiable information, perception of privacy risks predicted refraining from posting identifiable information online. The results show a complex picture of the association of offline and online characteristics on online behavior.