Abstract - The Information Society 22(5)

Conceptualizing and Measuring the Social Uses of the Internet: The Case of Personal Web Sites

Gregor Petrič

The researchers working on information society measures have recently started to consider how people use the Internet not only as a tool but also as a platform for social relations. As the ultimate objective of information society measures is to provide reliable guidelines for social policy, finding criteria for separating “positive” uses of Internet from “negative” ones is an important task. This paper employs the concepts of communicative and strategic action as defined by Habermas for that purpose. A general conceptual typology of three communicative and three strategic social uses of Internet is offered, which can be applied to measure uses of any of the Internet’s interactive services. A specific empirical application to social uses of personal web sites demonstrates that the deduced measurement instruments achieve satisfying levels of validity and reliability.


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