The Internet And Social Connection Essay

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Leonel Lucero Prof. O’Connor Research Paper 12/11/11 The Internet and Social Connection The last forty years in America have seen tremendous changes technologically and culturally. Life has become increasingly easier as machines designed to improve living standards increased. Communications and travel capabilities have advanced dramatically, with long distance phone calls soon to be a thing of the past. Computers have brought so much information home that many students do all their research from the comfort of their desktops. Socially the changes have been just as tremendous, though perhaps not always for the better. Divorce rates have skyrocketed. Children have massacred one another on school grounds. The income inequality gap has steadily risen. Overall, Americans are feeling less connected to one another than ever before. There is an area of American society that is hoping for a repair from the internet revolution that hurt social connectedness. As people pull away from their television sets and towards computer screens, which are capable of facilitating interaction, perhaps Americans will again begin to socialize with one another more and with their favorite shows less. If this does happen, if social indifference is any way mended as a result of online communications forums, it is most likely that it will have a direct effect on political indifference as well. As political participation is dependent on the social connectedness of its citizens, one cannot change without affecting the other. The man who began American social capital discussion, the man who remains at the forefront of any discussion about the virtues of associational life, was Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville. His Democracy in America is considered by some to be the “premier commentary on America itself” (Schwartz, Edward A.), and
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