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New Paper Published in First Monday : Changes in the discourse of online hate blogs: The effect of Barack Obama’s election in 2008

This study examines the narrative strategies that the blogs of hate groups adopted before and after a central political event, namely, the 2008 election of President Obama in the U.S. Using data from a large number of hate blogs (N=600), and sentiment analysis and data mining, we tested two alternative hypotheses derived from social identification theory. We found that there were major differences between the content of these blogs before the election and immediately after the 2008 election, with the latter evincing an increase in the advocacy of violence and hostility. We also determined that faced with this new change, the hate groups adopted a social competition strategy rather than a creativity strategy to manage their identity. Our findings imply that since the election of Barack Obama as President, the worldview of online hate groups has become more violent. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Access the full manuscript at  http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4154/3354

 

Attention to the Media and Worry over Becoming Infected: The Case of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 2009

Attention to the Media and Worry over Becoming Infected: The Case of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 2009

Gustavo S. Mesch, Kent P. Schwirian & Tanya Kolobov

Accepted for Publication, Sociology of Health and Illness

Attention to the Media and Worry over Becoming Infected: The Case of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 2009

 This paper examines the relationship between attention to the mass media and concern about becoming infected with H1N1 in two nation-wide random samples interviewed during the flu epidemic of 2009. The first sample (N=1004) was taken at the end of the first wave of the outbreak and the second sample (N=1006) was taken as the second wave was accelerating. The data were gathered by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Over the period studied, almost all social categories of respondents increased in the percentage worried about becoming infected. With social category membership taken into account, both those who followed the H1N1 outbreak closely and those who were more interested in reports about it were more likely to be worried about becoming infected than did others. As time went on, interest in media reports declined but worry over infection continued to increase.  Our findings imply that despite the decrease in the percentage of the population expressing interest and following the news, media exposure was the most important factor explaining the likelihood of being concerned with being infected over and above risks factors and demographic profiles.


 

 

New Paper:Minority status and Health Information search: A test of the Social Diversification hypothesis

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Minority status and Health Information search: A test of the Social Diversification hypothesis

Forthcoming; Social Science and Medicine, 

Gustavo Mesch, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Haifa,

Rita Mano, Department of Human Services, University of Haifa,

Yeudit Tsamir, Department of Evaluation & Research, Maccabi Health Services,

Group differences in the search of health information were investigated, to test the
diversification hypothesis that argues that disadvantaged groups in society will be
more likely to use the Internet and computer mediated communication to access
health information to compensate for their lack of social capital. Data were gathered
from a sample of Internet users representative of the percentage of minorities in the
general population in Israel (n=1371). The results provide partial support for the
hypothesis, indicating that in multicultural societies disadvantaged groups show
greater motivation to use the Internet to access medical information than the majority
group. We interpreted our findings as suggesting that minority groups that do not
have access to specialized networks use the Internet to overcome their lack of access
to specialized information. Implications of the finding are discussed

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953612002912?v=s5

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

IMpdf

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.

pdfmeschtrust

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.

Elected to the Board of Directors, Israeli Internet Association

The Israel Internet Association was established in 1994 as an independent entity that acts to promote the internet and its integration into Israel’s technological, research, educational, social and business infrastructure. The Association is managed by seven board members, all volunteers, and acts within this framework towards developing and advancing infrastructure services vital for the existence of the internet in Israel, narrowing the country’s digital divide and representing Israel in international forums that are significant in determining the future of the internet.

Board

The management of this chapter of the Internet Society is handled by an elected Management Board:

  • Shaula Haitner
  • Dr. Alon Hasgal
  • Rimon Levy (President)
  • Prof. Judit Bar-Ilan
  • Prof. Gustavo S. Mesch
  • Shuky Peleg (Joshua) Peleg
  • Elad Salomons
  • Doron Shikmoni
  • Dr. Yesha Sivan

February 2011 Vol 44, Issue 1 SOCIOLOGICAL FOCUS

February 2011 Vol 44, Issue 1 SOCIOLOGICAL FOCUS

Edited and published at the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Haifa, in association with Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, Colorado ISSN 0038-0237

Editor: Gustavo S. Mesch

The Three Cultures of Postindustrial societies Ralph Schroeder

 From Obama to Osama: Image of God and Trust in Muslims among the Highly Religious in the United States Wesley M. Hinze, F. Carson Mencken, & Charles M. Tolbert

Coexistence in the Urban Economy: Native Whites, European Immigrants, and the Retail Trade in the Late-Nineteenth-Century United States Robert L. Boyd

 Investigating the Biasing Effect of Identity in Self-Reports of Socially Desirable Behavior Philip S. Brenner

for submissions

http://www.sociologicalfocus.net

New Book Wright, Kevin B. / Webb, Lynne M. (eds.)Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships

 This collection of readings  analyze communication issues of ongoing importance in relationships including deception, disclosure, identity, influence, perception, privacy, sexual fidelity, and social support. The book examines subjects that attract intense student interest – including online performance of gender, online dating, and using computer-mediated communication to achieve family/work life balance – and will inspire further research and course development in the area of computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. Because it provides a synthesis of ideas at the nexus of interpersonal communication theory and computer-mediated communication theory, the book can serve as a textbook for advanced undergraduate as well as graduate courses.

 CONTENTS 

 

Preface. Kevin B. Wright & Lynne M. Webb

 

PART 1: The Influence of Technology on How Relational PartnersCommunicate Online

1. A Functional Approach to Social Networking Sites 3 

Erin M. Bryant, Jennifer Marmo, & Artemio Ramirez, Jr.

Jeffrey T. Child & Sandra Petronio

3. A New Twist on Love’s Labor: Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles 41

Catalina L. Toma & Jeffrey T. Hancock

4. Microchannels and CMC: Short Paths to Developing, 56

Maintaining, and Dissolving Relationships

Deborah Ballard-Reisch, Bobby Rozzell, Lou Heldman, & David Kamerer

PART 2: Processes and Goals in Computer-Mediated Communication

in Personal Relationships

in Online and Face-to-face Relationships

W. Scott Sanders & Patricia Amason

6. Relational Maintenance and CMC 98

Stephanie Tom Tong & Joseph B. Walther

7. Locating Computer-Mediated Social Support 119

Within Online Communication Environments

Andrew C. High & Denise H. Solomon

8. Personal Relationships and Computer-Mediated Support Groups 137

Kevin B. Wright & Ahlam Muhtaseb

9. Online Self-Disclosure: A Review of Research 156

Jinsuk Kim & Kathryn Dindia

10. Multicommunicating and Episodic Presence: 181

Developing New Constructs for Studying New Phenomena

Jeanine Warisse Turner & N. Lamar Reinsch, Jr

 .11. The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same:

 

The Role of ICTs in Work and Family Connections 194

 

Paige P. Edley & Renée Houston PART 3: Influences of CMC on Relational Contexts

12. CMC and the Conceptualization of “Friendship”:

How Friendships Have Changed with the Advent

of New Methods of Interpersonal Communication 225

Amy Janan Johnson & Jennifer A. H. Becker

13. A Cross-Contextual Examination of Technologically Mediated

Communication and Social Presence in Long-Distance Relationships 244

Katheryn C. Maguire & Stacey L. Connaughton

14. Healthcare Provider-Recipient Interactions:

Is “Online” Interaction the Next Best Thing to Being There? 266

Theodore A. Avtgis, E. Phillips Polack, Sydney M. Staggers,

& Susan M. Wieczorek

PART 4: The Dark Side of Computer-Mediated Communication

in Personal Relationships

15. Family Imbalance and Adjustment to Information 285

16. Online Performances of Gender: Blogs, Gender-Bending,

and Cybersex as Relational Exemplars 302

Mark L. Hans, Brittney D. Selvidge, Katie A. Tinker, & Lynne M. Webb

17. Digital Deception in Personal Relationships 324

Norah E. Dunbar & Matthew Jensen

18. Speculating about Spying on MySpace and Beyond:

Social Network Surveillance and Obsessive Relational Intrusion 344

Makenzie Phillips & Brian H. Spitzberg

19. Problematic Youth Interactions Online:

Solicitation, Harassment, and Cyberbullying 368

Andrew R. Schrock & danah boyd

 

Kevin B. Wright (PhD, University of Oklahoma) is Professor in Communication at the University of Oklahoma. His research examines interpersonal communication, social support related to health outcomes, and computer-mediated relationships. He coauthored Health Communication in the 21st Century, and his research appears in over 45 book chapters and journal articles, including the Journal of Communication, Communication Monographs, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Lynne M. Webb (PhD, University of Oregon) is Professor in Communication at the University of Arkansas. She previously served as a tenured faculty member at the Universities of Florida and Memphis. Her research examines young adults’ interpersonal communication in romantic and family contexts. Her research appears in over 50 essays published in scholarly journals and edited volumes, including Computers in Human Behavior, Communication Education, Health Communication, and Journal of Family Communication.

2. Unpacking the Paradoxes of Privacy in CMC Relationships
 

 

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

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

By Gustavo S. Mesch

In recent years there is an increase in public concern regarding privacy and privacy related issues . The Internet has changed the way in which user’s information is gathered, stored and exchanged. The growth in Internet deployment and use, and the creation of cost-effective, large-volume information-storage devices have made storing, merging, analyzing and using digital  information a convenient option for governmental and commercial organizations alike . Furthermore, some Internet users are disclosing and making available personal and identifiable information making it available for search, analysis, distribution and use. The distribution and potential abuse of this information can create serious repercussions for many Internet users, which may not be immediately noticeable and whose source may be hard to locate.

Disclosing identifiable information is linked to the concept of trust. Trust refers to a “general expectancy held by an individual that the word, promise, oral or written statement of another individual or group can be relied upon . In other words is a belief that in general individuals and groups can be trusted . Trust ameliorates the perceived risks of disclosing identifiable information ).

Online trust (e.g. trust in web sites, online news, social networking sites providers) has been extensively studied . From this studies we learned that the formation of online trust is a difficult process but when it is created it serves to mitigate the perceptions of risk, uncertainty and vulnerability that are associated with the disclosure of personal and identifiable information. Yet, one important limitation of these studies is that have not compared online and face to face(ftf) trust. In other words, we do not know if trust in individuals and social institutions are associated with online trust and if there is a differential effect of trust in individuals, social institutions and online trust on the disclosure of identifiable information. The purpose of this study was to fill this gap in the literature and to investigate factors associated with the disclosure of identifiable information. In doing this, the association of various forms of trust and perception of risks on the disclosure of identifiable information was investigated.

Main findings:

* Participants: A sample of Internet users (n=1692)

* Sample description

On average the respondents were 51.49 years old  and 58 percent were women and 42 percent men. As to education, 37.4 percent had a partial or completed high school education, 27 percent had completed a technical degree, 24 percent had completed college and 12 percent graduate school.

It was found that 27.7 percent had posted comments and information online using their real names, 31.4 percent had posted online using a screename that others can identify and 11.3 percent had posted comments online anonymously.

Regarding trust, 39 percent of the sample expressed a positive response on the item that measured generalized trust. The average trust in social institutions was higher (M=4.66, SD=1.60) than trust online (M=3.47, SD=1.57) that were both measured in a scale of 1 to 10.

*Attitudes to online privacy, it was found that 24.6 percent of the sample express concern over the amount of information that is available on them online and 53 percent agree with the statement that they are concerned that people think is normal to search for information about others online.

* Is trust offline associated with trust online?

The correlation of general trust and online trust is positive and statistically significant (r=.18 p<.01) and there is a medium size and statistically significant correlation between online trust and trust in social institutions (r=.42, p<.01). At the same time, the measure of general trust in people was associated with trust in institutions (r=.22 p<.01).

* Which trust is associated with disclosure of identifiable information online?

Trust in individuals is not associated with posting identifiable information online or with posting using a screename or anonymously. In addition, trust in social institutions was also found not statistically significant as a predictor of the likelihood to posting information with identifiable name, using a screname or anonymously.

Online trust has a positive effect on the likelihood of posting information online using an identifiable name.

Preliminary conclusions:

Trust online and trust offline are not completely separate entities. Online trust is affected by our trust in individuals and social institutions.

Yet, trust online has also other sources beyond offline trust that need to be identified.

Trust online, and not trust offline is a predictor of our online behavior. Similar to the results of the previous study on the effect of online and offline norms on online behavior, it appears that in the online environment there are emergent norms and trust that can only be partially accounted by offline socialization.

More will come when I finish writing the paper.

Sociological Focus Feb 2010 available online

The February 2010 issue of Sociological Focus is available online

http://www.paradigmpublishers.com/journals/sf/SocFoc43-1Sample.pdf

Consider submitting a paper for review.

Sociological Focus is the official publication of the North Central Sociological
Association (NCSA). Published continuously since 1968, the quarterly journal is international in scope, covering a full range of topics of current interest to sociology and related social science disciplines. The journal is peer rhttp://www.sociologicalfocus.net/index.php/sf/about/submissionseviewed and committed to publishing high quality research on substantive issues of importance to the study of society. The journal’s mission is broad in scope, encompassing empirical works (both
quantitative and qualitative in nature), as well as manuscripts presenting up to date literature review of any field of sociology.

Information for authors is available at

http://www.sociologicalfocus.net/index.php/sf/about/submissions

Editor, Gustavo S. Mesch