Meeting up : friendship and voluntary organizations in the Internet age
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Where do people go to meet friends in the digital age? How do people understand with whom they want to be friends? Drawing from qualitative interviews, participant observation, and content analysis, I examine the website Meetup.com, which allows people to search for common interests on the Internet and meet up with groups of people face-to-face. My study offers new insights into why people turn to the Internet to meet new people; how voluntary organizations determine who they want as their members; and how gender and sexuality shape people's friendships and participation in these groups. This thesis has larger implications for the study of friendship, voluntary organizations, social capital, and Internet studies.