USA Today has an interesting story on the impact of technology on community building.
Five years after sociologist Robert Putnam documented the decline of community involvement in his book Bowling Alone, a new spirit of civic engagement is flourishing, largely because of 21st-century technology. cell phones, e-mails, instant text messaging and Blackberries are helping mobile, busy Americans link up with neighbors on their commutes to work, in the middle of the night and on business trips.
The civic generation is being facilitated by technology – rather than technology being the impetus as the article seems to suggest. The article provides some interesting data confirming the rise of the civic generation.
Volunteering is up among young people. Recent University of California surveys of college freshmen show a rising interest in politics, public life and citizenship for the first time in decades. The 15-year-old Teach for America program is getting record applications from top college graduates willing to bypass jobs in law firms and Fortune 500 companies to spend two years teaching in low-income public schools. About 17,000 applied for 2,000 jobs this year, four times the number who tried in 2000.