Improving Health in Low-Income Communities With Group Texting

Gonzales, Amy L
Journal of communication

Research on digital glocalization has found that Internet communication, which enables communication across distances, also enhances local ties. As a first‐time test of this on mobile devices, a neighborhood texting intervention was employed in New York City public housing. Results of this 3‐month field experiment revealed that intervention participants reported better health but worse neighborhood cohesion compared to those in the control condition. Qualitative analysis of texts and interviews suggests that participation improved interpersonal ties but did not improve neighborhood ties. Findings expand glocalization research to encompass mobile contexts and health outcomes, and support a theory of networked individualism, which argues that digital groups should be conceptualized as a compilation of overlapping interpersonal ties.