Our new paper: “Reconfiguring Friendships: Social Relationships and the Internet”, co-authored with Professor Bill Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) at the University of Oxford, is now available in the new special issue of Information, Communication and Society (Vol. 10, Issue 5) on e-Relationships.
In this paper we investigate whether and how social relationships are formed online and what are the socio-demographic and other determinants of social relationship formation. We also explore whether and under what circumstances friends that are met online become offline friends. The paper uses data from the 2005 Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS) and the World Internet Project. We found that while socio-demographic factors are in general poor predictors of both making friends online and of meeting online friends in offline settings, the channels of communication used online (for example chatting vs. blogging) and what Internet users do online (for example whether they use the Internet for entertainment vs. communication) have an effect on the development of online friendships.