Robert Putnam's theories about the formation of social capital are foundational to much of what I've been focusing on for the last several years, especially the 2005 launch of BlufftonToday.com. Blogging for the Readership Institute at Northwestern University, Rich Gordon describes troubling new findings in Putnam's latest research, and declares:
Putnam's research ought to be a clarion call for citizens, journalists and media companies in cities, towns and neighborhoods across the United States. "Bowling Alone" made clear that declines in social capital were harming both communities and their local media. The new research reinforces the need, especially in our most diverse communities, to build new ways for people to connect with one another. It seems clear that journalists and media organizations have a role to play in the process - and that online community-building may be at least part of the solution.