Social capital is built through the hundreds of little actions we take every day.
Every encounter builds trust just a little bit more, contributes to our reserve of personal bonds, enables fellowship, enhances reciprocity, stimulates community, nurtures our connectedness and increases our supply of social opportunities.
Of course, that’s face to face.
What happens when digital enters the equation?
A few years back, the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication conducted a study that examined if Facebook was related to attitudes and behaviors that enhance social capital. And although their research showed that online social networks were not the most effective solution for social disengagement, they still found small positive relationships between intensity of social media use and life satisfaction, social trust, civic engagement, and political participation.
Considering social capital affects everything from productivity to depression to suicide to juvenile delinquency to test scores to government response time to divorce rate, I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start.
It might be digital, but it’s better than nothing.