Does Internet Increase, Decrease, or Supplement Social Capital?

The American Behavioral Scientist association did a research study to see how the internet affects social capital. They published their results and analyzed them in the article: Does the Internet Increase, Decrease, or Supplement Social Capital? I was extremely intrigue and curious to read this article because I have always been interested in knowing how the internet has changed the way society interacts.

Many years ago, the world was completely different and much slower than today. The article suggests that community ties were much more appreciated. There was no email, just plain old fashion post-cards to remain in touch with those far away. Then, communication slowly took a turn when the internet was introduced. People had the opportunity to send email’s to stay connect to those far away and you could find people that you haven’t talked to in years. Now, social networks, such as facebook, myspace, and hi5, have allowed people to show pictures, videos, and share stories with your friends all around the world. Not only has communication among people changed due to the internet, but the way businesses operate since they are more cost effective. The world is completely different and society is adjusting to these changes. Some people are agaisnt the internet, others things is a very useful tool that enhances social capital.

The authors of the article, Barry Wellman, Anabel Quan Haase, James Witte, and Keith Hampton, concluded that  “greater use of the Internet may lead to larger social networks with more weak ties and distasteful interaction with some of these ties, resulting in lower commitment to the online community.” I do agree that the internat may lead to larger social networks, since it is easy to become a member and you can stay close connected to your friends and family that are live far away. Also, I do feel that ties will be weaker, no distasful however. People are always going to stay connected to their social circle and family and I find difficult to see a decrease in online community commitment.

Therefore, I do feel that the internet has a positive effect on social capital because people have the opportunity to build new bonds.

Blogging will not change every business…but it will change many

I read a cool BusinessWeek article called “Social Media Will Change Your Business.”  The article, by Stephen Baker and Heather Green, is a follow up (in 2008) to a May 2005 article titled “Blogs Will Change Your Business.”  Three years later the authors still claim that blogs will change each and every business, but they recognize that it is no longer just blogs.  Twitter, Myspace, Facebook and others have popped up since the original article and so the power of all social media tools is discussed.

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Actual Revolution…Via Facebook

In deciding whether or not social media is “revolutionary” in today’s world many focus on the great things these networking sites are able to do for business.  Sites such as Twitter and Facebook are able to market products, connect members of a business society to share processes and even keep the public aware of certain company strategies or upcoming events.  However, these sites, specifically Facebook, have also been used to create awareness and vent anger stemming from social issues and turmoil as well.  These networking sites are revolutionary for business, but for actual revolution as well.  The article from the NY Times, Facebook, Revolution Style points out one instance of this currently occurring in the Middle East.

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A Revolution of Words

The article I read does not make what I would call a profound statement about blogging (profound being if someone said, “Blogging will replace books completely” — as idiotic as that may sound).  However, it was written in 2002 and appeared in Wired.  The Blogging Revolution , by Andrew Sullivan, is ahead of its time, only having been written 2 years after the idea of “Web 2.0” emerged for the first time.  I think it was a very important insight into what blogging would become and how it would affect our lives on a daily basis.  The author makes an analogy between Napster for music and blogging being the future of words and information — and I couldn’t agree more.  For I always have much more respect for someone if they make a claim that isn’t readily accepted because it is ahead of its time. Continue reading

Weick on Organizations as Nouns

Over time, how an organization is defined has changed.  Traditionally, there have been common features of organizations that deal with their structure.  Scott and Davis consider organizations to be “social structures created by individuals to support the collaborative pursuit of specified goals.”  All organizations must define objectives, induce participants to contribute services, control and coordinate these contributions, and gather resources and offer products or services, train (or select) participants.  They also must find a way to coincide with the pressures of the workforce.

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There’s a New Form in Town

The M-form (a.k.a. multi-divisional) type of corporate governance began to replace the U-form post WWI. (Scott & Davis) The old U-form, which was found in companies like railroads and large industrial firms, was becoming outdated. Thus, firms like du Pont, GM, Sears, and Standard Oil decided to create a new form. It consists of a general office HQ and several regional divisions, each of which performed different functions. The form was found to perform well in diverse markets. The M-form describes a type of organizational structure consisting of a relatively large number of relatively small units, which are controlled mainly by the setting of goals from a corporate headquarters. By the late 1970s, nearly 9 out of 10 companies utilized the M-form concept to divide the company into divisions based on the output produced. (Scott & Davis) Continue reading

T Shirt Design…

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