Networked Book

Daily Life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and response, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking.

Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities or learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of “networked individualism” liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks.

Rainie and Wellman outline the “triple” revolution that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighbourhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals.

Lee Rainie is Director of the Pew Research Centre’s Internet & American Life Project and former Managing Editor of U.S. News and World Report. Barry Wellman is the S. D. Clark Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, where he directs NetLab.

More About Networked: The New Social Operating System at the Pew Internet & American Life Project

Networked Blog at the Pew Internet & American Life Project



Podcast interview about “Networked” with Lee Rainie and Ian Jacobs of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

      Ian Jacobs and Lee Rainie Podcast Interview 2012


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Praise for the Book

“Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman have combined forces to become the new Marshall McLuhan! They draw on years of observation to weave the threads of the online and offline worlds into a deeply colored tapestry. We can see emergent social norms arising from their moving stories and insightful analyses.”

—Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer

Networked illuminates how search, social networking, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices are combining to transform the social role of the internet. This book – by two leading authorities – should be required reading for understanding the internet, new media, and society.”

—William Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

“Just as I would not let my child loose in traffic before I taught her to look both ways, if it were up to me, nobody would be let loose online until they read Networked. From the stories of real people whose lives have been changed by their interactions with contemporary online social networks to the sociological and psychological theories that explain how life is really changing in the age of ‘networked individualism,’ this is a must-read manual for life online today.”

—Howard Rheingold, critic and author of Net SmartTools for ThoughtThe Virtual Community, and Smart Mobs

“The Pew Internet Project has earned respect and attention for its careful, systematic studies of the ways in which networked connectivity is changing longstanding patterns of human interaction. In Networked, the Project’s leader, Lee Rainie, and coauthor Barry Wellman explain what we know about technology’s impact on our lives, what we can see coming, and where the biggest surprises and uncertainties lie”

—James Fallows, national correspondent and technology analyst for The Atlantic

“From their rich history of research, Rainie and Wellman have assembled a cornucopia of facts and impacts about work, family, and life in the new era of ‘networked individualism.’ When the next person asks me to talk about the network implications of social media, this is the terrific book to which I will send them.”

—Ronald S. Burt, Professor of Sociology and Strategy, School of Business, University of Chicago; author of Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition

“We live in a networked society. This book explains why, how, and what, on the basis of empirical evidence and rigorous analysis. This well-documented, well-thought, clearly written book will become indispensable reading.”

—Manuel Castells, Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society, University of Southern California

“Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman have woven three enormous changes in the ways we connect – the spread of the Internet, mobile tools, and social networks and media – into a single clarifying story of our present and future life in the 21st century.”

—Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody

“This must-read takes you into what is really happening with and through social networks in the digital age. No one knows more than Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman about the resources that flow through networks, and how our networked lives are shaped by modern technology. We navigate our social worlds as individuals with supportive networks, neither completely independent nor completely embedded in old-time villages. This readily accessible book presents compelling human stories that represent larger-scale phenomena.”

—Kenneth Frank, School of Education, Michigan State University

“Deftly slicing through hyperbole about technology changes, the volume’s authors bring us face-to-face with the wellspring of modern life: the networked individual. With flair, and a dash of wry humor, Rainie and Wellman provide keen insight about how the triple revolution affects all aspects of our increasingly digitalized lives. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the growing blend of social and digital worlds should read this book.”

—James E. Katz, Director, Center for Mobile Communication Studies, Rutgers University

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