The world is one big network problem. Some even affirm that we can only survive the future through connections. One thing is sure, Network theory is becoming more and more profoundly important to understand the world. In a compelling RSA talk, the economist and author Paul Ormerod makes the case of how "we have to see the world through the lense of networks in order to be able to design and think about better policies to achieving our ends whether in politics or the corporate sphere". Through examples of network systems that range from popular culture to modern economy, Ormerod presents how observing network properties such as resilience or fragility can help explain some aspects of today's world, including the economic crisis.
Abstract: This research investigated the role Facebook use plays in the creation or maintenance of social capital among university students in South Africa. Data were collected using questionnaires completed by over 800 students from 7 universities. The questionnaire was obtained from a study conducted in Michigan State University (Ellison N.B., Steinfield, C., and Lampe, C., 2007. The benefits of Facebook “Friends”: social capital and college students' use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143–1168.). Empirical research has linked social capital to many positives in society, such as improved mental and physical health, economic well-being, etc. Thus, social capital is important for the success of civil society. This research examined the relationships between Facebook use and the formation and maintenance of social capital amongst university students. The study also examined factors specific to the South African context and drew comparisons to the results of the original study. Analysis of the results suggests a strong association between the intensity of Facebook use and perceived bridging, bonding and maintained social capital. This paper broadens the understanding of Facebook usage by introducing the dimensions of race and age. Facebook usage was found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might be beneficial to students experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction.
What can be done about the North? The gap between London and the South East grows and grows. The response of many in the political class in the North is the dispiriting whinge of entitlement. The Leader of Newcastle Council has recently...
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