POPC and the Good Life

A Salutogenic Take on Being Permanently Online, Permanently Connected

Authored by: Frank M. Schneider , Annabell Halfmann , Peter Vorderer

The Routledge Handbook of Positive Communication

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138633278
eBook ISBN: 9781315207759
Adobe ISBN:


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The goals of our proposed chapter are threefold. First, we provide a brief overview of the partially contradictory research on the question if and how mobile media use may serve the good life. This is closely connected to the concept of being permanently online, permanently connected (POPC; e.g., Vorderer, Hefner, Reinecke, & Klimmt, 2018; Vorderer et al., 2016; Vorderer & Kohring, 2013; Vorderer, Krömer, & Schneider, 2016). From adolescents to older adults, and even children have apparently developed the habit of using online content simultaneously to performing other activities (PO) and engaging in online social interaction simultaneously with other activities (PC) as described by Vorderer et al. (2016). On the one hand, the vigilance dedicated to or drawn from smart devices, may impair individuals’ well-being (e.g., Rosen et al., 2013); on the other hand, the same tools that are suspected to create “iDisorders” (Rosen et al., 2013) may help individuals to flourish. Second, we discuss the question whether mobile media use serves the good life may depend on various more specific conditions (Vorderer, 2016). Accordingly, introducing and discussing some of the most relevant factors and conditions of using such devices may help to unravel broader underlying constructs (e.g., fundamental human needs, self-esteem, values, or life orientations). Third, we will try to put a whole new perspective on this research area by arguing that stressors might not always be pathogenic, but may also make users resilient and hardy. Drawing on the salutogenesis concept (Antonovsky, 1979, 1987), we scrutinize the role of mobile media with regard to stressors, coping, resilience, the maintenance of health, and especially the sense of coherence. From this perspective, mobile media use might both impair and foster media users’ sense of coherence, which is seen as a key factor that contributes to the “good life.” Moreover, we will reflect on how a high sense of coherence might enable users to deal with various digital stressors.

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