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Abstract

The Internet is the latest in a series of technological breakthroughs in interpersonal communication, following the telegraph, telephone, radio, and television. It combines innovative features of its predecessors, such as bridging great distances and reaching a mass audience. However, the Internet has novel features as well, most critically the relative anonymity afforded to users and the provision of group venues in which to meet others with similar interests and values. We place the Internet in its historical context, and then examine the effects of Internet use on the user's psychological well-being, the formation and maintenance of personal relationships, group memberships and social identity, the workplace, and community involvement. The evidence suggests that while these effects are largely dependent on the particular goals that users bring to the interaction—such as self-expression, affiliation, or competition—they also interact in important ways with the unique qualities of the Internet communication situation.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922
2004-02-04
2024-05-28
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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141922
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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