Robert Putnam on the Decline in Social Capital
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The paper describes how in his book about declining social capital, "Bowling Alone", sociologist Robert Putnam argued that individuals in society are increasingly disconnected from one another. The paper discusses the various explanations that may account for the decline in social capital and explains that although Facebook may seem like the ideal solution; it facilitates connections and enables us to keep in touch with hundreds of friends, it eliminates face-to-face conversation and creates a friendship that is a solitary activity. The paper discusses how friend lists often become a numbers game with no real relationship in existence and, a generation of young people may truly believe they are interconnected, without ever realizing what they are missing. According to Putnam and this paper's author, virtual connections such as those made on Facebook are a poor substitute for true friendship.
From the Paper:"At first, Facebook seems like the ideal solution; after all, Facebook facilitates connections and enables us to keep in touch with hundreds of friends using just a few keystrokes. Yet it is precisely because we use keystrokes rather than face-to-face conversation that supports Putnam's thesis. As Putnam points out, there has been a decline in the number of bowling leagues despite an increase in the number of bowlers. Apparently, we are bowling alone. Likewise, friendship on Facebook is a solitary activity. People may not even realize they are alone. It may seem as though they have a great many friends but the reality is that there is little interaction with those friends, even virtually. Friend lists often become a numbers game with no real relationship in existence.
"True friendship takes time to build and requires that both people be engaged. Vernon (2010) argues that the very coining of the verb "friending," which is what Facebook fans do with one another, devalues the whole notion of meaningful relationships. As individuals become increasingly busy, they make less time to devote to making and maintaining real friends. Facebook friends seem to be a viable option because we can fit them into our schedules. If we are too busy to meet for coffee or just to "hang out," we can post messages to friends on a timetable that works for us, say, two in the morning."
Sample of Sources Used:
- "Facebook." Wikipedia. 2 May 2011. Web. 4 May 2011.
- Keeter, Scott, and Paul Taylor. "The Millennials." Pew Research Center 11 December 2009:n. pag. Web. 4 May 2011.
- Putnam, Robert. D. Bowling Alone. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000. Print.
- Stephey, M. J. "Gen-X: The Ignored Generation?" Time 16 April 2008: n. pag. Web. 4 May 2011.
- Vernon, Mark. "Is true friendship dying away? USA Today 27 July 2010: n. pag. Web. 4 May 2011.
Cite this Book Review:
Robert Putnam on the Decline in Social Capital (2013, June 04) Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/robert-putnam-on-the-decline-in-social-capital-153472/
"Robert Putnam on the Decline in Social Capital" 04 June 2013. Web. 19 April. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/robert-putnam-on-the-decline-in-social-capital-153472/>