Media fragmentation in the context of bounded social networks: How far can it go?

Julius Matthew Riles, Andrew Pilny, David Tewksbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As researchers took note of the emerging ubiquity of new media, they predicted how digital technologies would facilitate an increasingly fragmented audience. New media (i.e. technologies with online capabilities) were observed to possess previously unmatched levels of content options and audience control over consumption. Many researchers have since observed that the current audience landscape has not reached previously anticipated degrees of fragmentation, leading to questions about potentially mitigating factors. In this study, we utilize emerging network analytical procedures to examine the role of interpersonal relationships in both exacerbating and mitigating audience fragmentation. We find support for the notion that social ties can mitigate fragmentation with regard to particular types of media use, notably, those most narrowly defined. Implications of this cross-disciplinary study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1415-1432
Number of pages18
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • Fragmentation
  • Internet
  • interpersonal relationships
  • news
  • social networks
  • television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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