Becoming more Like Friends

Abstract

Mediated interaction plays a significant role in the social life of adolescents in Norway. The purpose of the present article is to examine the qualities of mediated interaction and the integration of mediated and immediate social spheres, suggesting that the ability to juggle between online and offline social spheres has become a characteristic element of social competence in network societies. More specifically, the analysis looks at the use of personal media for maintaining and developing existing social relationships and for extending social networks. Qualitative interviews with 20 Norwegian adolescents constitute the empirical base. The analysis explains how interaction takes on mundane forms, confirming the value of social relationships between in-person meetings. Moreover, it is argued that mediated communication differs from face-to-face communication, not by being less meaningful, but by enabling other forms of disclosing practices. Mediated forms of communication, hence, have an influence on the character of social ties and networks.

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