What matters to you.

Keith Hampton

professor, urban studies and planning, MIT

Keith Hampton, an expert in the study of social networks and new technologies, says that rather than destroying community life, being wired actually helps people connect. In fact, people who frequently use e-mail are more likely to be in frequent touch with others by telephone and in person, too. Seven years ago, Hampton set out to discover how online communication vehicles like e-mail are likely to impact our social contacts with family, close friends, and casual acquaintances. Are we going to meet less frequently in person? Are we going to become cut off from our communities? He also wanted to learn the extent to which global communication technologies can affect us at the local level particularly within our own neighborhoods. Keith Hampton is assistant professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is completing a doctoral dissertation at the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto.