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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 Dolan 2 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).” Dolan 3 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 Dolan 4 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 Dolan 5 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 Dolan 6 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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