Email the Best Way to Widen Social Circle

According to a study in the Asian Journal of Social Psychology published by Wiley-Blackwell, the more social ties people have, the more likely they will use PC email – hence widening and expanding their social circle.

The study “Causal relationship between Internet Use and Social Capital in Japan” explores whether Internet use increases social networks that are beneficial for developing social capital in Japan. It compares the effects of PC emailing, mobile phone emailing (also used to refer to SMS), and online communities.

Lead author Kakuko Miyata from the Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, says, “The social influence of Internet use has attracted much attention since social networks are considered to be a crucial aspect of social capital for socio-economic development.”

While SMS is very effective at maintaining and strengthening existing strong ties, it does little to forge new relations. Although its compact and discreet nature allows the user to communicate anywhere and anytime, the limited length of phone messages mean that users require prior knowledge or contact about the sender before social ties can be established or strengthened.

Conversely, PC emails have the capacity to contain a large enough amount of information for the message to be interpreted by unfamiliar senders – making it effective in keeping up with current relations whilst making new acquaintances at the same time.

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