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Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media, and Techno-Social Life

Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media, and Techno-Social Life

Second Edition

December 2017 | 272 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

What does it mean to live in a superconnected society? 

Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media, and Techno-Social Life, Second Edition provides fresh research and analysis, up-to-date data and statistics, and brings together knowledge from the many literatures to examine social life that is mediated by various digital technologies: the Internet, social media, and mobile devices. The book explores topics such as how digital technology led to the modern information age; information-sharing and surveillance; how techno-media shapes socialization and development of the self; digital divides that separate groups in society; and the impact of techno-media across social institutions. From screen time for children to the polarization of political talk to the relationship between sexting and sexual behavior, dozens of new multidisciplinary research findings and topics are described, discussed, and integrated throughout the text.

Dr. Mary Chayko is a sociologist, professor of communication and information, and director of undergraduate interdisciplinary studies at Rutgers University's School of Communication and Information.  For more on the author and for instructor resources, visit her blog at

Chapter 1. Superconnectedness
The Internet ...  
... Digital Media ...  
... and Techno-Social Life  
Technology, Mediation, and the Diffusion of Innovation  
Sociality, or Being Social  
Chapter 2. Creating the Internet Age
A (Very) Short History of Information and Communication Technology  
A (Not Quite as) Short History of Computing and the Internet  
The Web Is Born  
A Deep, Dark Web is Also Born  
Wireless and Mobile Communication  
Early Online Networking  
Full-Featured Social Network Sites (SNSs) and Social Media  
The Triple Revolution of the 2000s  
Chapter 3. Inhabiting a Digital Environment
Sociomental Spaces, Cultures, and Societies  
Why Not Cyberspace?  
Online Communities, Networks, and Networking  
Creating Digital Environments  
Reality, Presence, and Proximity  
Reality and the Brain  
Emotionality and Intimacy  
So, What About Physicality?  
The Intersection of the Online and the Offline  
Chapter 4. Sharing and Surveillance
Sharing and Prosuming in a Participatory Culture  
Liking and Following, and Being Liked and Followed  
Ownership of Online Content  
The Power to Disseminate and Publish Information  
Accuracy, Inaccuracy, and the Rise and Transmission of “Fake” News and Information  
Vertical, or Asymmetrical, Surveillance  
Horizontal, or Social, Surveillance  
Privacy and Obscurity  
Chapter 5. Global Impacts and Inequalities
Globalization and Technology  
Stratification and Inequality  
Cultural Divides  
Hacking, Danger, Crime, and War  
Finding Solutions, Bridging Divides  
Speaking Back to Power: Social Organization, Movements, and Activism  
The Rise of Citizen Journalism  
Chapter 6. Techno-Socialization and the Self
Socialization, Self, and Identity  
Development and Performance of the Self  
Expression of the Self  
When Identity Is Marginalized  
Growing up Online and Offline  
Socialization Never Ends: Socialization Throughout Adulthood  
Chapter 7. Friending, Dating, and Relating
Making Digital Connections  
“Chemistry” and Synchronicity  
Friendship—Online and Offline  
Flirting, Dating, Romance, and Sex  
Trust and Social Support  
Interpersonal Conflicts and Harassment  
The Lifespan of Digital Relationships  
Chapter 8. The Techno-Social Institutions
The Institutional “Heart”: The Family  
Health Care  
Work and Commerce  
Education and Libraries  
Politics and Governing  
The Media  
Chapter 9. More Benefits and Hazards of 24/7 Superconnectedness
Constant Availability  
Convenience and Microcoordination  
Fun, Play, and Entertainment  
Multitasking and the Attention Span  
Stress, Information Overload, and FOMO  
Dependency and Addiction  
Health and Moods  
Being Plugged in?... to Society  
Chapter 10. Our Superconnected Future
New and Emerging Technologies  
The Techno-Social Path Ahead  
The Human-Machine Connection  
Our Personal Paths  
Key features
  • Current events, updated statistics and new research findings reflected throughout the book including richly detailed sections on the rise of “fake” news and information, the human-machine relationship, and the history and implications of the “dark web” and the “deep web.”
  • The book’s companion blog has been updated with the inclusion of customizable lecture slides and questions associated with each chapter for use as teaching tools and discussion prompts.
  • Short podcasts written, produced, and recorded by the author to accompany each chapter, located on the blog, represent fun, unique points of access to the material.


  • Gathers findings from multiple fields that overlap, so that key understandings and insights can be integrated to give a comprehensive picture of modern techno-social life. 
  • Opens with a short, engrossing history of internet and digital/mobile/social media to provide context for the chapters that follow. 
  • Recognizes that the entire world is not “superconnected” and contrasts high-tech societies with those that are less developed technologically. 
  • Incorporates excerpts from face-to-face and email interviews conducted by the author to illustrate relevant points.

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ISBN: 9781506394855