January 25, 2006

The Strength of Internet Ties

Acknowledgments

On behalf of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the authors would like to acknowledge contributions to this study by the following people: Shyon Baumann, Victoria Boase, Wenhong Chen, Rochelle Côté, David Lazer, Bonnie Erickson, Jane Fountain, Bernie Hogan, Miki Itano, Tracy Kennedy, and Beverly Wellman. This material is based upon work supported by the National Center for Digital Government, by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0131923, by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and by the Social Science Research Council of Canada’s Netting Together research grant.

About the Pew Internet & American Life Project: The Pew Internet Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care, and civic/political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source for timely information on the internet’s growth and societal impact. Support for the project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The project’s website: www.pewinternet.org

Barry Wellman studies networks — computer, communication, and social. He learned to keypunch as a Harvard graduate student in 1964 and has played with computers ever since. Now Professor of Sociology and Director of NetLab at the University of Toronto, Wellman has written more than 200 articles, including “Physical Place and Cyber Place: The Rise of Networked Individualism” and “The Community Question.” He’s edited three books: Social Structures: A Network Approach, Networks in the Global Village, and The Internet in Everyday Life. He’s currently directing the Connected Lives project and the Transnational Immigrant Entrepreneurs project.

Jeffrey Boase is currently a doctoral student in the department of sociology at the University of Toronto, an active member of NetLab, and a fellow at the University of Toronto’s Knowledge Media & Design Institute. While working on his doctoral thesis he spent a year at Harvard University as a fellow at the National Center for Digital Government. His dissertation research examines the role of the internet in maintaining relationships and accessing resources. In addition to his collaboration with Pew Internet & American Life Project, Mr. Boase helped design NetLab’s Connected Lives study. He has also collaborated with researchers at the University of Tokyo and Meiji Gakuin University to study the social implications of mobile phone based text messaging in Japan.

About Princeton Survey Research Associates International

PSRAI conducted the survey that is covered in this report. It is an independent research company specializing in social and policy work. The firm designs, conducts, and analyzes surveys worldwide. Its expertise also includes qualitative research and content analysis. With offices in Princeton, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., PSRAI serves the needs of clients around the nation and the world. The firm can be reached at 911 Commons Way, Princeton, NJ 08540, by telephone at 609-924-9204, by fax at 609-924-7499, or by email at ResearchNJ@PSRA.com

At the firm, the surveys were overseen by Kristen Purcell, Ph.D. She is a Senior Project Director whose expertise includes media technology, women’s policy issues, and exercise and health behavior.  Since joining PSRAI in 1998, she has implemented multi-year, national research projects for the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Center for the Advancement of Women.  Dr. Purcell’s technical expertise includes telephone and internet survey design and analysis, media content analysis, and focus group research.  She has been on the faculty at Franklin & Marshall College, Rutgers University and Fairleigh Dickinson University, and her work has been published in a variety of journals and edited volumes including Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Forum, and Risk in the Modern Age