Computer networks as social networks: Collaborative work, telework, and virtual community

Barry Wellman, Janet Salaff, Dimitrina Dimitrova, Laura Garton, Milena Gulia, Caroline Haythornthwaite

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

6 Scopus citations


Computer-supported social networks (CSSNs) are the cornerstone of global connectivity, virtual communities, and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). Beginning with the U.S. Defense Department's ARPANET, scientific researchers began a quest for connecting social and workplace networks. Since then, the birth of personal computers and Intranets has grown rapidly, while the costs associated with access have decreased. Because the Web hosts communities of previously disconnected individuals searching for information, companionship, and social support, computer networks are expanding at an astonishing rate. Stemming from this economic and social phenomenon, the authors investigate online computermediated communication (CMC) and its relationship to groupware, e-mail, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and listservs. CSSNs are examined in terms of social-network theory-where the size, structure, and composition of virtual communities and workgroups are applied to the types of communication that affect telework, domestic work, and the larger networked organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKnowledge and Communities
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780080509785
ISBN (Print)9780750672931
StatePublished - Nov 3 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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