How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age

By Mary Chayko

Subjects: Mass Media
Paperback : 9780791454343, 252 pages, July 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454336, 252 pages, August 2002

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Table of contents


1. A Meeting of the Minds

2. From Cave Paintings to Chat Rooms: The Sociomental Foundation of Connectedness

3. Making the Connection . . . Across Time, Space, and Cyberspace

4. Till Death Do We Disconnect? Keeping Connections Alive

5. How Real Does It Get? Properties of Sociomental Bonds

6. The Social "Fallout" of Connecting at a Distance

Appendix 1. Investigating the Sociomental: The Face-to-Face Interview Methodology

Appendix 2. Cyberspace Connecting: The Online Survey





Explores how we come to feel connected to those we have never met face-to-face.


How do we become connected to people we have never met in person? From celebrities to faraway relatives, from favorite writers to thinkers to people we meet on-line, we form a host of subtle, invisible, but very real social connections with distant others. In Connecting, Mary Chayko investigates how physically separated people manage to create a sense of connectedness—a "meeting of the minds"—and feel undeniably, if unexpectedly, bonded. Through dozens of personal accounts, the book considers the social "fallout" of connecting with absent others—the benefits and hazards—on our societies, communities, relationships, and individual selves. The result is a comprehensive yet intimate look at social bonding as it is rarely recorded: an examination of the bonds and communities we form across great distances, and even across time, in the age of the Internet.

Mary Chayko is Assistant Professor and Chair of Sociology at the College of St. Elizabeth.


"Calling on readers to rethink ideas about the meaning of connection, the location of community, and the expansion of the sources of self and identity, Chayko has taken a sociological venture into a world psychologists would claim. Happily for readers, she has avoided psychological reductionism and produced a solid contribution to symbolic interactionism and social theory. " — CHOICE

"This is a lovely piece of work. Extraordinarily sophisticated and ever so timely, it ups the ante and redefines the nature of work on cognition, intimate relationships, community, communications, and Web-based activity. " — Christena E. Nippert-Eng, author of Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries Through Everyday Life

"Connecting addresses important contemporary questions about community and self by integrating insights from classic sociology and philosophy with everyday observations by interviewees. In particular, it addresses questions about how it is possible to feel socially connected to other individuals or socially integrated into a group without physical proximity. " — Rebecca G. Adams, coeditor of Deadhead Social Science: You Ain't Gonna Learn What You Don't Want to Know