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Sociologist to discuss online fan communities at OU Lancaster campus

LANCASTER, Ohio (April 19, 2007) --  Sociologist Andrea Baker is so intrigued by online relationships that nine years ago she began to study couples who met via the Internet and wrote a book based on the data collected.  Now her research includes online fan communities.  She will discuss online fan groups and specifically the Rolling Stones at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in the Wilkes Gallery at Ohio University Lancaster Campus.

Baker, associate professor of sociology at the Lancaster Campus, will present information on the Rolling Stones and then discuss fan club identities and relationships, and the norms of the fan community.  She also will share other interesting facts about the Rolling Stones' fan communities, such as their usernames and avatars, knowledge of the group, and memorabilia collected.

In "Double Click:  Romance and Commitment among Online Couples," released in 2005, Baker followed relationships from early attraction to communication and intimacy, to meeting offline, and to outcome.  She explored many issues with 89 couples of all ages, who first discovered each other in cyberspace and then made the transition to face-to-face relationships.             

Baker's research has been discussed in The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, The Ladies Home Journal, TIME, Elle, Wired and several newspapers.  She also has made presentations across the U.S. and Europe and has given book talks (lectures and signings) and has been interviewed on television and radio.  Her research has been published in many professional journals, including Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, Cyberpsychology and Behavior, and Computer-Mediated Communication.  She continues to write book and journal articles and to conduct research in online dating and relationships.

Baker teaches courses in social psychology, marriage and the family, deviant behavior, and sociology of gender, and co-instructs communication in cyberspace.

Awards and grants from Ohio University's Center for Innovations in Technology, Research and Curriculum Committee, and others have enabled Baker to develop online and interdisciplinary courses and to collect and analyze data.

Baker holds doctorate and graduate degrees in sociology from Case Western Reserve University.  She also has post-graduate training in distance education.

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Media Contact: Jennifer LaRue, (740) 687-9497 or larue@ohiou.edu

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