Cameron Marlow, research scientist at Facebook, argues today against Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone thesis and the notion that more time spent commuting reduces a person’s social life. I think Cameron is suggesting that the more one commutes, the more time a person can spend on Facebook… and therefore said lucky soul will have a richer social life.
Perhaps I missed his point. It may be an MIT vs. Harvard thing. I don’t agree with all of Putnam’s conclusions, but I don’t doubt his data and the core of his analysis… Americans are less connected to the community where they live than they have in the past and this is not a good thing. I know that millions of kids (teens and 20s) and people in the tech industry use Facebook… but I just don’t see that as a replacement for a nation full of people richly engaged in local clubs, schools, churches, municipal government, civic organizations, sports, elections, charities, arts, etc.
Facebook is a game and local engagement is about building up the community in which you live. Apples and oranges.