Social Networks and the flow of people : The effects of computer-mediated communication on mobility of young people from a rural area in Spain

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Avdelningen för medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

Abstract:

This research examines how social networking fosters the mobility of young people in a rural Spain. Generally, rural areas have been overlooked in the discourse on Globalization and Network Society, which is the foundation of the concept of “linked city”. Although many scholars have highlighted the direct link between the increase in the modes of communication of people and the increase of any kind of interaction, face-to-face included, it is necessary to stress that most of these studies are conducted in urban context where a certain grade of efficient transport exists. This study provides an approach to the impact of mediated communication on the lives of people in villages. Based on the concept of Digital Natives this study addresses the Social Network use of young people in a determined rural area in Spain and its correlation with the aim of mobility of the respondents. The results bring to light a certain degree of correlation between the increase of interaction via the Internet and the wish of mobility. Besides, this study uncovers a transportation shortage among locations in this rural area that forces young people to reduce the face-to-face interactions around specific nodes (e.g. High School or a near big city). Finally this study stresses the need for improvement of the transportation networks in terms of cost, flexibility, functionality and reach among rural population in order to avoid a cultural, economic and social backwardness in comparison to urban environments.

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