How can social media help build social capital and social trust?
Is social media good or bad for community and social relationships? This has been a hot topic of debate between so-called "cyber-optimists" and "cyber-pessimists". But frankly, we're less absorbed by the debate over whether the Internet is bad or good than we are by the very urgent need to make it as good as possible.
Because the Internet isn't going anywhere. Neither is our need for the social relationships that power organizations, sustain communities and give meaning to our personal lives. That's why we focus on the ways that social media can help nurture social capital and social trust by reconstituting social ties, and helping people connect in new ways.
Read more about how Alex's research into building social capital informs our approach to engaging online participation in social media.
As the Internet structures or touches more and more of lives, our relationship to it becomes a powerful expression of our personal and social values, and a crucial opportunity for both personal and social change.
Clay Shirky tackles TV, the scourge of social media -- and shows how social media is the cure for what ails us.
In the world of online social networks, the word "friend" is a lot less meaningful; it includes your most casual of virtual acquaintances. Until you have a chance to build a certain level of trust with them, respect and affection, your interaction with your online friends (a.k.a. "buddies" or "contacts", depending on which social network you're using) will often be the digital equivalent of nodding at each other as you pass in the hall.
The most important principles of online community building and online dialogue grow out of the experiences of urban community planners and participation planners like Jane Jacobs: Communities are about people, not structures. Healthy communities are owned and shaped by their members, not by some team of expert planners. Communities thrive on activity and diversity.