The Niches of Interpersonal Media: Relationships in Time and Space

Document Type


Publication Date



mediated interpersonal communication, mobility, niche theory, social networks, uses and gratifications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



According to the theory of the niche, media must differentiate themselves along resource dimensions that allow for their survival to compete and coexist within a resource space. Within this study, contacts with personal relationships are framed as a key resource domain over which channels of interpersonal communication (interpersonal media) compete to occupy niches within the resource spaces of social networks. One hundred and forty-two college undergraduates completed a time/space diary for a randomly assigned weekday in which they recorded their contacts or ‘bundles’ with members of their personal social network. Analysis of the data shows that interpersonal media coexist because they are differentiated from each other in the contacts they allow with different relationships at different times and locations. Although evidence is found regarding heavy competition among the media under analysis, each is used in different time/space/network relationship contexts.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

New Media & Society, v. 13, issue 8, p. 1265-1282