The Internet is only 10 years old, but it has already had a great impact on the world. In its 'early' days, it was both heralded as a liberating force for the spread of democracy, and condemned as a grave threat to the social fabric. However, as the present articles indicate, our knowledge of the Internet across a variety of social science perspectives has now accumulated to where we have a good initial picture of how the Internet really is (or isn't) affecting social life. One theme stands out: these effects depend on how the unique qualities of Internet communication modes interact with the particular characteristics and goals of the individuals, groups, and communities using them.
Katelyn Y. A. McKennna, PhD, Research Professor, Department of Psychology, New York University. Received her B.A. with honors from Tulane University, and her PhD from Ohio University in 1998. Her research interests focus on relationship cognition and social identity processes, especially as these unfold over the Internet. John A. Bargh, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, New York University. Received Bachelors summa cum laude from University of Illinois in 1977, Ph.D. in Social Psychology from University of Michigan in 1981. Since 1981 has been on the faculty of the New York University Psychology Department. He is the editor of four books, including Unintended Thought (Guilford, 1989), Psychology of Action (Guilford, 1996), The Use and Abuse of Power (Psychology Press, 2001), and Unraveling the Complexities of Social Life: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert B. Zajonc (American Psychological Association, 2001). His research focuses mainly on the role of nonconscious influences on emotion, judgment, and social behavior. He is a recipient of the Early Career Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship.