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Abstract

This essay explores what it means to be socially connected in a techno-social world. It describes how a “triple revolution” in social connectedness has been catalyzed by the ever-increasing use of the Internet, mobile communication, and social media networking (Rainie and Wellman 2012). It argues for the usefulness of the concepts of the community and the network in understanding how social connectedness is created and experienced in the use of digital (computerized) communication technology. It examines some of the consequences – both benefits and hazards – of being near-continuously available to one another via the Internet, mobile phones, and social media. And it describes how digital (online) and face-to-face (offline) spaces become fully integrated and experienced as a single, enmeshed reality. The article concludes that people's use of digital communication technology tends to strengthen social connectedness and prompt, not deter, face-to-face interaction and local community ties.