We Haven't Talked in 30 Years! Relationship Reconnection and Internet Use at Midlife
PublisherTaylor & Francis
MetadataShow full item record
The phenomenon of reconnection of dormant ties using internet communication technologies has been identified as having salience for the use of social media forms by midlife and older adults. Dormant ties, as distinguished from those that are merely inactive, are those that were once operational but which have lapsed under the stressors of time, distance and circumstance, such as relationships between former college friends, neighbors, or work colleagues. Reconnection is the process by which these dormant ties become active again, and is an activity which is supported in unique ways by internet communication technologies. This study presents findings from interviews with midlife adults on how the use of email, social network sites and search engines is leveraged to enhance and support the reconnection of dormant relationships and maintain weak ties. Grounded in a life course perspective, it examines how the experiences of longevity and the life course alter perceptions of the attributes and drawbacks that these technologies offer. By examining adults at midlife, a less-well studied group than teens and young adults, this work provides a more nuanced perspective of the technological practices at varied points in life, and offers insight on how various communication technologies might be utilized at different life stages.