Informal Group

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  • A term referring to a gathering of people—in person or online—that generates discussion about political and social issues. In their 2006 study, a group of researchers at the University of Tokyo looked at discussion patterns in Western and Asian nations and concluded that informal groups meeting in person are more likely to be homogeneous—of similar age, background, and interests—while groups that “gather” on the Internet have a greater chance of being heterogeneous—of diverse ages, backgrounds, and interests.

    In her 2004 book, Katherine Walsh notes that informal, face-to-face groups range from senior citizens frequenting a morning coffee shop in Ann Arbor to people who, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, conversed while stranded at airports, in their workplaces, or at their dinner tables. She points to ...

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