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How the Internet is affecting everyday life is the subject of a new book edited by Barry Wellman ’63 and Caroline Haythornthwaite, acting associate dean of library and information science, University of Illinois.

Wellman, professor of sociology, University of Toronto, studies networks — community, communication, computer and social. He researches virtual community, the virtual workplace, social support, kinship, friendship, community, and social network theory and methods.

Internet and Everyday Life (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, England, Nov. 2002) focuses on the Internet and interpersonal relationships. It addresses issues relating to the social consequences of adding the Internet to daily life, explores how the Internet affects social and communal behaviors, and reveals what gets dropped and strained when Internet hours are added to already full schedules. The 19 chapters are by academic researchers who studied key questions about the impact of the Internet on friendships, civic involvement, and time spent with others. Wellman co-authored two chapters and the book’s introduction.

A history graduate, Wellman was captain of the undefeated 1962 GE College Bowl Team. He received a doctorate from Harvard University.

He spoke on “Online Social Networks and Implications for Religious Culture” in November at a research seminar held by Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

“It seems like all those religion classes (and Presbyterian services) I went to in my Lafayette College days are finally coming home to roost, as Edinburgh was the founding home of John Knox and Presbyterianism,” says Wellman.

He is a recipient of the Outstanding Lifetime Contribution Award from the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association. The University of Toronto held the conference “Social Structure in a Changing World: Presentations in Honour of Barry Wellman” in April. He recently received a National Science Foundation grant for a study with the National Geographic Society on how Internet use affects social integration.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles