Is Social Capital in Cyberspace a Negative Thing?

11 May

Earlier in the class of Comm506 of MACT program, we talked about the switch of the “capital” in cyber age, we draw a conclusion that the capital is becoming more intelligence oriented. Through the whole class, we learned a lot about how to add “values” to our social networks, e.g., through generosity, through adding links, and through connecting different social networks, in order to increase our social capital.

However, social capital can be negative. It does not happen only in the cyberspace. For example, the singer Whitney Huston died because of her negative social capital. She got addicted to drugs because of her boyfriend, and died of diseases resulting from the addiction.

For me, the negativeness and postiveness of social capital between dyads always happen at the same time, and it all depends on which perspective is the observer standing.  The social capital always involves a trade-off and a balance process.

The negativeness of the social capital in cyberspace is easy to be ignored because the interactions are indirect, or sometimes, people feel it indirect. I do not think it is easy to generate a guideline on how to maximize the positeveness and avoid negativeness. However, I think it should be similar to the real life because cyber life is part of our life, not a completely new separate space requiring another set of etiquettes.

Maybe it is better to put it in a simple way: keep your mind open, and do not forget to keep your eyes open.


5 responses to “Is Social Capital in Cyberspace a Negative Thing?

  1. Hillary Burridge

    May 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Good point, Amanda. I also think that we should be a little more understanding to one another when we make a mistake in real life or online.

  2. Andrea

    May 15, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I like the way you finish this post Amanda and it made me think of conversations I’ve had with friends who are on social media like Twitter, and they keep their profiles locked down so others can’t see them. It’s a personal and/or professional choice to do so but I’ve always adopted your idea and kept my mind and my social media interactions open. Great post!

  3. teresasturgess

    May 15, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Really interesting perspective and example. One of the things to consider with your comment is the topic of Cyberbullying, it would also be a good example through your lens. Sometimes the new, cool tools can build – and at the same time – break down social capital.

  4. sea blue zed

    May 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Good point about social capital – trade-offs and balance on and offline.

  5. Sylvia

    May 16, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Interesting point about negative social capital – that sounds like a different thing that “the negative side of social capital”. Will have to think more about that, but I completely agree that it’s not all positive in this sphere.


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