Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 17, No 2 (2002)

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Social Capital in Cyberspace

Katherine Balmes, Donna May Tomboc

Abstract


Digital living is the name of the game in the Information Superhighway. The emergence of ‘virtual communities‘evokes a thorough redefinition of social relationships and human bonding (Gemeinschaft). These communities generate interactions which produce and sustain social capital. Cyber communities are under the reality of anonymity , ‘timeless time’, ‘spaceless flows’ and asynchronous interaction. Since they merge cultures and peoples into a single ‘wired society’, there is an infinite manner of transforming social configurations. The augmentation and dissipation of social capital hinges on the length of the individual’s connection to the Web. Unlike physical interface, cyber networks foster the creation of trust with a lesser social cost. Nevertheless, virtual communities can only “complement and supplement” rather supplant traditional physical communities. The presence of a physical community remains a sine qua non of the accumulation of social capital in the internet.

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