Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bowling Alone, Tribes and Facebook

Robert Putnam, in his book, Bowling Alone, claimed that Generation X people were disinclined to join community organisations. He said, ‘social capital has eroded steadily and sometimes dramatically over the past two generations.’

In an article entitled, Social Tribes: from Bowling Alone to Facebook, Tamara J. Erickson disagrees - at least in part. She says this generation is very closely tied to long-standing friendships, rather than becoming involved in social groups where friends have to be made. These are sometimes called ‘urban tribes. In fact, ‘tribes’ is the in-word (Seth Godin has written a book based on it).
So what about Facebook, Erickson asks? She has some interesting stats. You may not be asked to join as a ‘friend’ of one of your children, but the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 35-54 year olds, with a 276.4% growth rate. Not far behind is the 55 and over demographic with a 194.3% growth rate.

From my small experience of Facebook in NZ, I would say this is happening here too.

Yet again there's an opportunity for the church to be innovative.

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