According to sociologists
We need groups and organizations-just as we need culture and socialization to live and participate in a society. Historically. the basic premise of groups and organizations was that individuals engage in face-to-face interactions in order to be part of such a group; however. millions of people today communicate with others through the Internet. cell phones. and other forms of information technology that make it possible for them to "talk" with individuals they have never met and who may live thousands of miles away. A variety of networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace. Friendster and xuqa. nw compete with. or in some cases replace, live. person-to- person communications, For many college students. Facebook has become a fun way to get to know other people. to join online groups with
similar interests or activities. and to plan "real-life" encounters. Despite the wealth of information and opportunities for new social connections that such websites offer. many of our daily activities require that we participate in social groups and formal organizations where face-time-time spent interacting with others on a face-to-face basis. rather than via Internet or cell phone-is necessary What do social groups and formal organizations mean to us in an age of rapid telecommunications What is the relationship between information and social organizations in societies such as ours! How can we balance the information that we provide to other people about us with our own right to privacy and need for security? These questions are of interest to sociologists who seek to apply the sociological imagination to their studies of social groups. bureaucratic organizations, social networking. and virtual communities. Before we take a closer look at groups and organizations. take the quiz in Box 6.1 on personal privacy in groups. in formal organizations. and on the Internet.