Special Viewpoints

Computer Networks As Social Networks

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Science  14 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5537, pp. 2031-2034
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065547

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Computer networks are inherently social networks, linking people, organizations, and knowledge. They are social institutions that should not be studied in isolation but as integrated into everyday lives. The proliferation of computer networks has facilitated a deemphasis on group solidarities at work and in the community and afforded a turn to networked societies that are loosely bounded and sparsely knit. The Internet increases people's social capital, increasing contact with friends and relatives who live nearby and far away. New tools must be developed to help people navigate and find knowledge in complex, fragmented, networked societies.

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