Bowling Alone: America's declining social capital

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    Oct 27, 2009 9:34 AM GMT
    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/DETOC/assoc/bowling.html

    Indeed, Putnam has a point in stating that social capital is on the decline.
    I have become increasingly aware (even before reading this essay) of the rather damaging effects television, the internet, and video gaming have on our society.
    The advancement of technology in general has increasingly encrotched and is further eroding how we communicate with and spend time with one another, despite the seeming relevant benefits these advancements create. Instead of visiting a relative in another state (or perhaps down the street!) we call them. Instead of a business meeting in a face-to-face environment, we push for a more economical and conveniet ways such as live video feeds and phone conferencing. Meeting relatives and business partners in person has the potental to foster more personal bonds and encourages interpersonal communication, thereby creating the possibility for more social interactions such as a weekly bowling team/leagues or company picnics or events. And these activities in turn could weave more oportunities for creating social capital.
    Clearly, the advent of the internet is one major cause for the decline.
    People seal themselves up into their homes and clock in countless hours of time surfing the web, playing online games, prowling phonographic websites, socializing on social networks (Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc), shopping for goods online, and many other countless activities. These online activities promote alienation. Since when do large groups of people meet up just to go online together? Not very often.
    It would be in the greater interest of society to promote civil activity otherwise social capital may continue to erode until there will be an inevitable collapse altogether.

    I am only touching on a specific point but the problem goes beyond technology.

    What are your thoughts on this essay?
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    Oct 27, 2009 4:18 PM GMT
    I sort of glazed out after the 3rd line of your post.

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    Oct 27, 2009 5:47 PM GMT
    LOL If you did that then you really don't want to read the article. icon_razz.gif
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    Oct 27, 2009 6:33 PM GMT
    Its important to realize the article "Bowling Alone," was published nearly 15 years ago. The followup book, "Bowling Alone," was published nearly 10 years ago. His postulations have been ripped apart since then.

    First, many social scientists strongly disagree with the notion of "social capital" as it implies one can quantify their social milieu. Second, even Putnam acknowledges that the decline in social capital (if one must employ such a term), began years before technological innovation. This means the decline of social dynamism can and has been attributed to larger structural and societal issues. Third, there is now an exploding discourse advocating that new social networking websites has engendered a new type of "social capital" that doesn't have the same sort of communal manifestation as the 1960s rotary clubs but one that nonetheless, can help connect people in ways that were, heretofore, not possible.

    He was prescient yes, but, similar to Thomas Malthuse, alluded to a collapse of some sort that has yet to be realized even on a minimal level.
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    Oct 28, 2009 12:25 AM GMT
    Isn't that what TIVO or DVR devices are for?

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