Dear Nancy Baym,
After reading your book, Personal Connections in The Digital Age, I have to say I have learned so much about new communication technologies and the the personal connections it has on the impacts on our lives. In means of how we communicate. I agree with almost everything you stated in your conclusion. I think we all have the tendency to think about new technologies deterministically. Almost in all of my classes our discussions always related back to whether these new technologies, such as the internet, cell phones, and social network sites are either a good or a bad thing. Taking these new technologies and relating them to our mediated communication and face-to-face skills clearly show effects on our personal communication levels, especially with out families for example. “Mediation leads to closer families, more engaged citizens, more resources, and larger, better-connected social networks”. I relate to this so much because if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch so often with my friends and family who live Arizona. My older sister recently had a baby, and not for Skype I wouldn’t be able to see my niece as much as I would like. With Skype I feel I am practically watching her grow up still, and were not even face-to-face. My parents generation looks at our new digital age, and our literally in awe over the advancements that have arose. Back in their day they had to wait patiently for letters, phone calls, or even to see loved ones. Now this has all changed. I personally can not wait to see what the next decade has in store for us. I would love to read your next book. I agree that its not about whether online relationships are as good as unmediated relationships. The question is who is communicating, for what purposes, and in what contexts. I believe that people have to be mindful when they are using technology to communicate and have to know why, and when its appropriate for using so. I enjoyed reading your book. It was required for the course Self and Society in Virtual Context, and it’s been thus far a very interesting course, and your book helped me understand the connections we have with these past, present, and future times of technology.