In metallurgy, an alloy is a mixture of two different metals that has different properties than either of those metals taken separately.
For about a decade or two there was a long debate among specialists about whether internet connections were really community or really not community, whether the Internet was a good, maybe even a better substitute for the you know the Rotary Clubs and so on, they're no longer with us or no longer attractive to people or whether the Internet was actually maybe even evil, drawing people away out from human connections. I think that's the wrong way to phrase the question.
Robert D. Putnam is a professor of public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has written a dozen books including the best-selling "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community" and more recently "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us." His previous book, "Making Democracy Work," was praised by the Economist as "a great work of social science, worthy to rank alongside de Tocqueville, Pareto and Weber." Both "Making Democracy Work" and "Bowling Alone" rank high among the most cited publications in the social sciences worldwide in the last several decades.
He consults widely with national leaders, including US Presidents Bush and Clinton, British Prime Ministers Blair and Brown, Ireland's Bertie Ahern, and Libya's Muammar el-Qaddafi. He also founded the Saguaro Seminar, bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal.