I think the biggest takeaway from last week’s discussion was that it’s hard to exactly pinpoint whether have social media and modern technology is a good thing, and how our future society will look with all these advancements. As a result, I believe the most fitting quote comes from Wellman himself, as he says “dense, bounded groups… coexist with loose, unbounded groups.” (Note to self: I also learned this week that there are subtle differences between a community, a network, and a third place.)
I think we can all very easily think of communities we’re part of from both categories, but upon further reflection of the blog prompt, I realize that rarely are communities cleanly split between those in reality and those that only thrive/exist online. Many of the students groups I am/was part of on campus have group texts and Facebook pages, and I think in those situations social media really does live up to the traditional objectives of technology – they enhance our community experience.
But that doesn’t mean that problems are completely absent. Because of individual differences in Internet usage and communication styles, I always found it interesting that a fellow member would be very active on our social media platforms yet completely silent in real life. I wonder if one persona is “better” than the other – is the online persona “better” because it is more active, or is the real persona “better” because it exists in real-world, real-time, face-to-face communication? Does this make me view that individual as less authentic, because he/she seems to portray a different personality through each medium? Is this inevitable?