Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New report: The Strength of Internet Ties

Thanks to ce-more for pointing me to a new study from The Pew Internet & American Life Project called The Strength of Internet Ties. Authored by Jeffrey Boase and Barry Wellman of the University of Toronto and John B. Horrigan and Lee Rainie from the Pew Internet Project, the report states that

The internet and email aid users in maintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions.... Our evidence calls into question fears that social relationships — and community — are fading away in America. Instead of disappearing, people’s communities are transforming: The traditional human orientation to neighborhood- and village-based groups is moving towards communities that are oriented around geographically dispersed social networks. People communicate and maneuver in these networks rather than being bound up in one solidary community. Yet people’s networks continue to have substantial numbers of relatives and neighbors — the traditional bases of community — as well as friends and workmates.

Some useful material for the Future Cities debate. I wonder what the spatial implications of this are. More time spent engaging with people who live overseas to the detriment of more local ties? Or would those ties have sprung up anyway? Maybe being able to maintain ties with friends and family who are far away makes it possible to live apart from them? It's not straightforward.

Also, an interesting article from Will Davies in this month's Prospect magazine entitled Digital Exuberance. My comments here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Google Earth with Time and Sound

Thought-provoking post over on the excellent cityofsound blog* about extending Google Earth with time and sound. The idea is that you could scroll through time, looking at how a city changed through the centuries. Then you could also extend this with the sounds of the city by area, or through time. Really beautiful idea. I hope someone does it! Read the full post here. Also lots of interesting comments.

*I named my blog before I found out about his, honest!
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