Cars are made to improve the transportation of people and things to different places. Refrigerators are made to make food lasts longer. Cellphones and internet are created to make social relationships stronger. Everything has a purpose and most of them have the purpose of having benefits. Unfortunately, according to Putman, instead of improving the social interaction, these things have worsened or lessen the social capital of the Americans. More individuals choose to isolate themselves from their society and this is brought by the growing technology.
Social capital is the basic component of cohesion that is very essential in working and living together. These are the features of social organization such as norms and networks that play a big role in coordination and cooperation in order to meet mutual benefits. It is a capital in the sense that it becomes an investment to develop to enrich the social connection essential for civic engagement (Putman, “Bowling Alone”). Putman’s claim could have a strong point since there has been a big change in the technology and so there has also been a decline in the social capital.
One might say that the two aspects are correlated. On example is the use of i-pod. It may help everybody be connected to the latest happenings and trends in the society anytime anywhere because of its capacity to store too much updated information. However, people who subscribe to this gadget already create their own worlds wherein they do not need to cross to other people’s environment in order to get the information that they need. In this case, there is no chance for them to mingle with other people or to have face to face communication with them.
It will only be a one way communication wherein they will just receive information. There is no chance for them to improve their knowledge by creating it and sending it to any receivers that they should target. Unfortunately, what happens is that they only receive knowledge and that they do not have the chance to clarify what they receive in order to meet the meaning of their sender. They do not have anything to contribute to enrich the knowledge. They become machines or even worse than machines which have something to do after receiving the information.
Another cultural object that weakens the social capacity of individuals is the cellphone. It is true that it is created to enrich each person’s communication with other people even if they are on both ends of the world. It also tries to fasten the flow of messages and to cater to all the precise information that the person needs. However, this process, again, confines the individuals into a place where there is lack of social involvement in the sense that there is no face to face interaction. There are more messages that can be sent and received if there is a personal encounter between the sender and the receiver.
In this case, the supposedly precise information, in reality, would be insufficient in getting the exact meaning that the sender wants to relay to his or her audience. There is a large amount of knowledge but each set is very weak causing misunderstanding between the parties involved. The same thing happens when it comes to the use of internet. It creates a world that meets all the great demands for communication. It even offers services that will cater to the needs of people who are looking for someone to supply their demands for a social interaction.
It makes the world small by going beyond the barriers in meeting people in any part of the earth. Most of the couples have found each other through the use of dating sites. The internet is somehow effective and gives a lot of benefits. However, indirectly, it attempts to destroy the foundations of relations. It devastates the real criteria that people set to achieve a valuable relationship when it comes to meeting their loved ones. Every step that they should take becomes fast making establishment of relationship weak.
The effects of these cultural objects just reflect that there is really a decline in social capital because of the diminishing value of communication through the pseudo social interaction that they give people. However, Putman must also put in his mind that as time goes by, technology is not the only one that changes and improves but communication as well. Eventually, social interaction and civic engagement change. Work Cited Putman, Robert. Bowling Alone. January 1995. Journal of Democracy. National Endowment for Democracy and the Johns Hopkins University Press: US. <http://xroads. virginia. edu/~hyper/DETOC/assoc/bowling. html>