The sociology of the Internet involves the application of sociological theory and method to the Internet as a source of information and communication.
Sociologists are concerned with the social implications of the technology; new social networks, virtual communities and ways of interaction that have arisen, as well as issues related to cyber crime.
In some countries Internet service providers have agreed to restrict access to sites listed by police.
The presidential campaign of Howard Dean in 2004 in the United States became famous for its ability to generate donations via the Internet, and the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama became even more so.Increasingly, social movements and other organizations use the Internet to carry out both traditional and the new Internet activism. Some countries, such as those of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, the People's Republic of China, and Saudi Arabia use filtering and censoring software to restrict what people in their countries can access on the Internet.Certainly, global space- and earth-based networks are expanding coverage of the Io T at a fast pace.This has a wide variety of consequences, with current applications in the health, agriculture, traffic and retail fields.The Internet—the newest in a series of major information breakthroughs—is of interest for sociologists in various ways: as a tool for research, for example, in using online questionnaires instead of paper ones, as a discussion platform, and as a research topic.
The sociology of the Internet in the stricter sense concerns the analysis of online communities (e.g.
Skimming over hundreds of potential mates can promote a "shopping" mentality, in which people are excessively picky and judgmental.
Also, many online daters correspond with one another for weeks or months by computer before ever meeting face-to-face, which has been shown to yield unrealistic expectations.
In the United Kingdom, they also use software to locate and arrest various individuals they perceive as a threat.
Other countries including the United States, have enacted laws making the possession or distribution of certain material such as child pornography illegal but do not use filtering software.
A popular twist on Internet-based philanthropy is the use of peer-to-peer lending for charitable purposes.