Web Exercises

1. The research on social ties by McPherson and his colleagues was publicized in a Washington Post article that also included comments by other sociologists (“Social Isolation Growing in U.S., Study Says,” by Shankar Vedantam). Read the article at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/22/AR2006062201763... and continue the commentary. Do your own experiences suggest that there is a problem with social ties in your community? Does it seem, as Wellman suggests in the Washington Post article, that a larger number of social ties can make up for the decline in intimate social ties that McPherson found?

2. Scan one of the publications about the Internet and society at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society website, https://cyber.harvard.edu/. Describe one of the projects discussed: its goals, methods, and major findings. What do the researchers conclude about the impact of the Internet on social life in the United States? Next, repeat this process with a report from the Pew Research Center Internet & Technology website at www.pewinternet.org, or with the Digital Future report from the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future site, www.digitalcenter.org. What aspects of the methods, questions, or findings might explain differences in their conclusions? Do you think the researchers approached their studies with different perspectives at the outset? If so, what might these perspectives have been?