Most of the research on the implications of mobile communication for social networks has focused on its uses and consequences in the intimate realm of close friends, family, and loved ones. A number of scholars have also become interested in ways that mobile communication helps and hinders the broader realm of network connectivity, including diverse, weak, and new ties. A collection of theoretical perspectives on mobile communication and diverse, weak, and new ties proposes that heightened connectivity in the intimate realm can come at the expense of being engaged more broadly – a scenario I characterize as network privatism. At the same time, the available empirical research in the literature tends to tell a different story, or rather stories. This analysis brings theory and empirical findings into closer conversation with one another by reviewing and synthesizing the literature in this area. Observed patterns in the literature offer new insight into questions of mobile communication and network privatism, while also pointing to opportunities for refinement of theory, analysis, and measurement as this line of inquiry further develops.
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