Intro to Sociology

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					Intro to Sociology                                                            Tomi Dolan
M.W.F. 1-1:50 PM                                                   Analysis “Hooking Up”
Helene Lawson                                                         September 24, 2011

1. Research Question:

     In the article “Hooking Up on the Internet, the authors wanted to know why some

people choose to date online. Along with this research question, the authors wanted to

know what aspect of face-to-face relations were reproduced and the rationales and

strategies internet daters use to negotiate and manage problems of risk accompanying the

technology (Society 38). The authors were interested in how technology has shaped

today’s society and why online dating has become a fad in this generation.

2. Theoretical Perspective

     The authors’ world views fall under the categories of idealism, symbolic

interactionism, phenomenology, conflict theory and exchange theory.

     The reason that this article is idealism is because the author used qualitative

information by interviewing carefully selected participants. They were careful in

selecting people who were interested in romantic relationships rather than people who

were interested in pornography or online sexual encounters.

     The article also has symbolic interactionism because people are using technology

and the computer to engage in social interactions. The computer is a symbol to people

because they are using it as a tool to find and meet people and possibly start a

relationship with them.

     The article also contains phenomenology. The people who are being interviewed

are called “online daters” or “internet daters” (Society 44). Another that was used in the

article was “players” on page 46 of “Life in Society”. In one interview a woman said

“They are “players”. They are talking to you while having cybersex with someone else
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and talking to a third person in another room at the same time.” The woman used the

label “player” to describe men in chat rooms who are just using the internet to talk to

multiple women and not start anything serious like a relationship.

      The conflict theory is another world view that is seen in this article. The people who

are using the internet to date often run into conflict when trying to seek out that certain

person whom they have been waiting for to start a relationship with. These people also

run into conflict when they are talking to people who portray themselves falsely on the

internet to appear to be more attractive.

      The last world view is the exchange theory. The people who are using the internet

to date are making the decision to use the internet for intimacy in return for finding

someone who they are compatible with. To these people, the internet is their go-to to find

love. They believe that it is worth it to talk to many different people through the use of

the internet to find love.

3. Author and His/Her Methods Of Research

      The first author of this article is Dr. Helene Lawson. She is currently a sociology

professor at The University of Pittsburg at Bradford. She has earned a B. A. in Education

from Roosevelt University in 1959, an M. A. in Early Childhood Education also from

Roosevelt University in 1967, an M. A. in Gerentology also from Roosevelt University in

1981 and a Ph. D. in Sociology from Loyola University of Chicago in 1991. She came to

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in 1991 and is currently still teaching there. She

is a resident of Bradford, Pennsylvania and says that she “appreciates the rural beauty-

there are no hills and few trees in Chicago (UPB online bio).”
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     The second author of the article is Dr. Kira Leck. She is currently a psychology

professor at The University of Pittsburg at Bradford and teaches Introduction to

Psychology, Social Psychology, Personality Theories, Prejudice and Discrimination, and

Close Relationships. She has earned a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology at the New

Mexico State University in 1993, an M.S. in Psychology at Texas A & M University in

1996 and a Ph.D. in Psychology also at Texas A & M University in 2001.

     The method of research that the authors used was interview sessions. The authors

needed participants who could be tracked over time and were a reliable source. They also

needed to be personally accessible. The participants for the experiment were composed of

32% students, 24% business and clerical workers, 14% trade workers and 14%

professionals and semiprofessionals (Society 39). The authors were interested in romantic

dating relationships so they excluded people who were interested in pornography and

online sexual encounters. The interviews consisted of the following open ended

questions: (1) describe their experiences with internet dating, (2) state whether these

experiences were positive or negative and (3) state whether they used online dating

services or met incidentally through online chat rooms, online games or common interest

groups (Society 40). The interviews took place over lunch in restaurants, at the

participants homes, at the first author’s home, the university cafeteria, or on walks in

various neighborhoods. They limited their number of participants to 25 men and 25

women to compare gender variables in a balanced sample.

4. Focus of Readings

     The focus of this reading is to try to understand why people use the internet to form

romantic relationships. The article focuses on how people who are lonely and are
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unhappy with their current relationships tend to seek comfort from people they meet

online. Many of the participants were unhappily married and felt as though their social

lives were incomplete so they would turn to the internet to have a second secret lifestyle

with people on the internet who would talk and listen to them. The majority of the

participants that were interviewed said that they engage in online dating because they

find support and comfort from people who talk and listen to them. They also said that

internet relationships are free from stereotypes and commitment. In this case, most of the

participants used online dating as a way of escaping their real lifestyle.

5. Conclusion

     In conclusion the authors have found that the internet has opened a new avenue for

romantic interactions (Society 48). In the present study, internet daters reported being

able to reach a larger pool of potential partners and experiencing increase freedom of

choice among partners. Dating online also modified gendered interactions by allowing

women to behave more assertively and men to be more open (Society 48). They found

that internet interactions such as gains and losses were not taken as a serious loss when an

online user was only identified by a screen name. The authors also found that the use of

the internet to find love still had remaining problems. These problems are that it is easy

for people to lie to each other and appearance and shyness do not completely disappear

when using the internet to date. Using the internet to date does not rid of the reality of

rejection and its emotional pain. Also the issues of trust, self-presentation and

compatibility are also part of internet dating just like face-to-face dating. The authors

found that the internet is the latest technological development used by people to assist
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their romantic goals (Society 48). They also found that the benefits of online dating

outweighed the risks.

6. Review of Literature in the Text

     In our text “Sociology: the Core”, page 435 talks about the social change in the

United States. The text explains how technological innovations are reshaping the norms,

roles, relationships, groups and institutions that make up our society (Core 435). The

information revolution is a new term that refers to the effects that computers have made

on American society. This relates to the text because people are starting to use the

internet to recreate an interaction that most people do face-to-face. On page 438 of

“Sociology: the Core”, the article “Blogging Our Way Into Intimacy” is about how

technology and computers are rapidly growing. More and more people are becoming

users of computers and they are finding ways to use the internet for social activities. This

relates to the article “Hooking Up on the Internet” because people are using their

computers for interactions that were face-to-face before computers came out.

7. Strengths and Weaknesses

     Some of the strengths that I found in this article were that it was very interesting

that most of the participants were older and unhappily married. I was very surprised to

see that older people were using the internet as an “escape” from their reality. I would

have thought that younger, single people would have used online dating to try to find

people of their interest to date. I did not find any weaknesses in the article. It presented

excellent points as to why people engage in online dating and it also talked about the

risks and benefits of online dating. I have not used the internet for online dating, but I

have used it to make a friend who has the same interests as I do. Two years ago, I became
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friends with a girl named Molly. She was a mutual friend of somebody on my Facebook,

so I added her in hopes of making a new friend. The reason I added her was because I

knew that she was into showing horses. After a few months of talking to her, we

exchanged phone numbers and occasionally texted each other. We would text about

funny things we saw or heard through out our day or just how we were that day. We

developed a “best friend” relationship over Facebook and texting. I knew I could tell her

anything, and she could do the same with me. A whole year after communicating only

with the use of the internet and cell phones, we met in person for the first time at a horse

show. Ever since the time we met, we have been best friends and we occasionally plan

times to meet up and hangout.

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