In previous weeks, we learned about differing opinions of the capabilities of the internet and other new communication technologies, and their potential impact on the future. Authors like Shirky and Rheingold envision a future in which the development of communications technologies will provide a vehicle for a greatly increased circulation of ideas that will, in turn, invoke an era of technological utopianism. All will have the ability to broadcast their own message and, most importantly, be heard.
In the study by Pasek et. al., Realizing the Social Internet? Online Social Networking Meets Offline Social Capital, looks at internet usage and its correlation with social capital. The authors eventually conclude that the, “results of [the] study give little weight to the notion that online social networking may be the key to Rheingold’s idealized “virtual community.”” However, the authors do not count out the ability of these forms of communication to have a potential positive effect of social capital.
In Karpf’s essay, Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns, the author states that there are two different metrics involved with the measuring of success: tactics and strategies. While tactics are more quantitative measures, like numbers and figures, they do not necessarily equate to success. Strategies, on the other hand, are more tangible applications in that one can progress beyond numbers into real world demonstrations of success.
Social networking sites like Facebook are among those mentioned by Pasek et. al. as having the potential to effect the alleged declining social capital of our generation. Facebook has the power to connect people. The number of Facebook friends an individual has would be considered a “tactic” by Karpf. Are there already existing forms of Karpfian “strategies” to further achieve Rheingold’s utopia, or are we still a ways off, as suggested by Pasek et. al.?