Are you an information technology optimist or skeptic? Chances are, if you are a regular blog reader or poster, you fall in the former category. Yet ever feel like all that time you spend online might be displacing time spent in more meaningful face-to-face interactions? Are the social relationships forged via Web 2.0 and various mobile phone innovations really as quality as real world conversations? At American University, it's a question I ask my sophomore-level class on Communication & Society
to research and debate every semester. (This past semester's debate is available here.
On Saturday, the NY Times spotlighted similar questions in a front page Business section feature
on cell phone use and networks. The article argues
that the free minutes that mobile carriers allow for calls within their network is dividing the people who share informal bonds and bringing together those who have formal networks of cellphone "friends."