Lab #21--Creative Lab!


Okay, so it's not what you think it is--there has been a thought process behind this picture, so beautifully drawn (and scanned onto the computer by Baron!) Our idea was--let's move on from America's social capital. What does the whole world have in common? What is one of the basic parts of humanity? Love! There it was! We all love a few things, it is one of the foundations of our being. We all love:

1. Family. This can be broken down into two: romantic love of family (spouse) and love for the rest of your family, which is still a very strong bond (love for parents, love for children.)
2. Friends. This can also be considered people in general. Besides friendship, one type of love, Kevin and I think that humans also have a general love for other humans. We are (most of us) programmed to love our neighbors.
3. Home. This isn't just where you live--it's the place you feel attached to. Patriotism can fit into this category, as well as love for the beach, the mountains, the ocean, etc., and also your specific love for the house in which you live.

So these are what bring all humans on Earth together, these fundamental needs. We hope you liked our drawing!!

Lab #4: Trust!

How much do our fellow Americans trust each other? One study says only 30 percent of Americans do! Another interesting question is why do Americans trust or distrust each other? This is what Kevin and I conducted a study to discover, and we found some interesting results.
We showed about 50 people (of all races, of both genders, of all ages, and from all over NC and from other states including Virginia, Kentucky, and Florida) one of 8 groups of either 2 or 4 people and asked them one of the following questions: Which of these is the most trustworthy/least trustworthy?
The first two slides were meant to find what age group people view as trustworthy. The first slide showed white males: one teenager, one twenty-something, one middle-aged man, and one old man; the results told us overwhelmingly that the older man looked more trustworthy. 11 people (out of 25), versus five as the next most voted (the younger man, whom people often commented on his trusting eyes--an outlier). The second slide was of black women, one from the same age groups as above, except we asked which was the least trustworthy--and got similar results. Younger people are viewed as less trustworthy than older people.
The second set of slides depicted men and women of different races--one each of Caucasian, African-American, Asian, and Latino. The results for this one were very interesting. First, a few people could tell that they were being asked to choose based on race, and refused to give a straight answer--race is a very sensitive issue in our society. But from those who did answer, we got the following results: Mostly, races are trusted equally! There was some discrepancy: our male Asian representative seemed to be particularly untrustworthy, but people didn't choose our female Asian representative any less than the others, so it is safe to say that race doesn't matter very much in our community, at least when it comes to trustworthiness! I have to say, I was kind of surprised; as fair as I try to be, I still thought there would be some racism, even if it was subconscious, but I was wrong. There was a tiny bit of a leaning towards the Caucasians, but I think that may just be because we see Caucasians more often than any other race, in America.
The third set of photos showed two pairs of men and women: one white and one black. In both pairs, the man was less trustworthy than the woman; more so in the second than the first (the woman in the first pair had kind of a mean air about her). I expected this, and it turned out to be true. Women look more trustworthy than men.
The last set of slides showed 4 people: Three looking normally, and one smiling. Of course we should all think that smiling people look more trustworthy than unsmiling people, but the interesting part to me was the extent of this truth. In the first photo, almost every single person thought the smiling man looked trustworthy--for two other photos, 1 person thought they looked more trustworthy, and for one photo not a single person chose them! For the second group, the smiling person (whose smile many people said to be fake) still won, but to a less drastic extent. However, it is still definitely true that smiles make a person seem a lot more trustworthy.
So. The final results: older beats younger, man beats woman, smiling beats unsmiling, and race doesn't really matter very much. If you want to put it all together, you would get a middle-aged, smiling woman! This reminds me of the ideal person my father always used to tell me to find if I got lost at an amusement park: a middle-aged woman with children. (It remains to be said whether children will cause you to have a smile on your face or a frown...)


Lab #2: Go Without Your Cellphone for 31 Hours

Modern society depends a great deal on technology. Whether it adds or takes away from social capital isn't as obvious--but we know for sure that we need it a lot. Or do we need it? Kevin and I (Baron) did an experiment in which I tried to go without my cellphone for 31 hours. 31. Hours. Without. Cell. It was horrible, but somehow I managed it. Here, you can read all about what happened.
At first, I was in all of my classes so I didn't use my phone at all. After my last class, I went down to the piano tunnel and practiced away. And away. And away. And I never got a text asking me to go to dinner, never got to check the time (as much as I wondered) so I practiced until 7'o'clock, ate dinner very quickly, and ran up to do my homework.
After I finished my homework, I wanted to hang out with my friends--but I didn't know where they were! I kept wondering whether I had a text on my phone, if all of my friends were missing me, etc. etc. etc... it was driving me crazy! As I walked around campus, I was constantly feeling for my phone, thinking I had lost it, checking for the time. I was afraid I would miss curfew, and then ask someone for the time only to find I still had over an hour to kill. I went to practice some more, but it was a very unfocused practice because I couldn't stop thinking about my phone. Finally, I gave up and went into the connector to sit and read "The Picture of Dorian Gray." All in all, it was a hectic and frantic day.(The remaining hours were either spent in class, or asleep, so they don't contribute much to the experiment.)
All in all, I rely more on my phone than I thought. Although I don't text very often, I still use my phone for basic communication and for checking the time, and it was very disconcerting not to be able to do these things. I think most of society uses technology far too much but it's still good to be able to communicate with people when they are far away very easily--to a point!


Lab #12- Consider the effect of social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace on social capital and community, and on your own life

With the exploding popularity of online social networks like Facebook and Myspace, our technology hungry populace are becoming more and more attached to them as time progresses.
Let's admit it, social networks like Facebook are great. You can keep in touch with friends, make new "friends", chat, and not to mention all the applications such as FarmVille (which we all know is the greatest of them all).
However, Facebook does harm in the fact that it skewers the meaning of friendship. In reality, a "friend" is someone you get along with. The friendship may be close, like someone you can tell a secret to and trust they won't spread it around, or it may be a rather distant relationship, like someone you may just greet for a moment whenever you walk past each other. Regardless, they are still considered a "friend".
However, a Facebook "friend" can be someone you do not know at all or someone whose name you have heard of but have never actually met or talked to. People who use Facebook have a tendency to make friend requests to people as long as the person they are requesting has "mutual friends" (at least that's what we do). The person who receives the friend request sees that the two have "30 mutual friends", and will accept the friend request regardless if he knows the guy or not (at least that's what we do). In this way, Facebook broadens the definition of a friend, meaning that a "friend" on Facebook may not even know you, but is your "friend" because the two of you have mutual friends. It is interesting to note, however, that younger people tend to use Facebook in this way while older people almost always tend to use Facebook in a different way--to keep in touch with close friends and family only.

EЯika WЯight
35 people are mutual friends. You both go to Panther Creek High School.
Add as Friend

It is hard to draw a conclusion as to whether Facebook hurts social capital or benefits it- it really just depends on how you use it. There are many different people who use social network sites like Facebook. There are the pointless ones who just have an account because their friends told them to get one but they never use it, thus it exerts no influence over their social capital. There are responsible ones who use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family and introduce themselves to new friends (unfortunately, the number of those kinds of people are very low, and again, almost nobody in the younger generation is like that), thus increasing their connectivity with society. There are the hardcore gamers who use Facebook exclusively for games and compete against their friends, which lowers their social capital, seeing as it's not very fun to be friends with a person who spends his/her life playing Facebook games, and who would want to be friends with a guy who spends his life on Facebook games anyway? Of course, there are people who use Facebook in a combination of ways. They may keep in touch with friends and family as well as play Facebook games (such as FarmVille) Sadly, there are also people who use Facebook to stalk people. Facebook has made it relatively easily to creep on someone. Simply friend them, and BAM you can look at all their pictures, videos, and personal information that they choose to put on their profile. I'm not sure whether this would increase or decrease social capital (I mean, you do get to know people better, which in essence connects you more to society).
Facebook can help increase social capital in the way that you can form groups or "Causes". Groups like "Stop Animal Abuse", "Wake Arts Equity Organization", and "Official Petition for No School on Chinese New Year" may render someone even more connected with society and his/her community, thus increasing social capital.
Facebook, in my life, keeps me more connected to my community (sorry, MySpace is just...bad). I keep in touch with my childhood friends who have long moved away and are busy in their own lives, and it's nice to be able to talk to those friends and see how they're keeping up. Of course, I do have the occasional "fun" application (because everyone loves FarmVille and Poker and etc. etc.). Basically, Facebook keeps me connected, like it was made to do.
Conclusively, social networking sites do not determine someone's social capital. It all depends on how he/she uses these sites- to their detriment or to their advantage.


Social Capital Inventory

How connected are you with your community?? Take this quiz to find out. Courtesy of Mr. Milner on his blog, Commonweal.

Give yourself 1 point for each of the following things that are true of you

1. Attended a public meeting in the past year (school board, town council, zoning commission)
2. Attended a political rally/event in the past year
3. Could go to your regular grocery store and would probably (Fifty-fifty chance) see someone you know
4. Regularly attend synagogue/temple/mosque/church
5. You have less than a fifteen minute commute each day, each way
6. Know the names of one half of the people on your block
7. Play on a sports team, go to the gym, or are involved in an artistic organization
8. Are a member of a club/organization/volunteer group that meets regularly
9. Go out more than one night a week (movie, dinner, dancing, parties, bowling)
10. If your car broke down at 3 pm on a typical Wednesday, you could have a ride home in half an hour

Now add up your points and see how plugged-in you are. Your score is below.

Points Level
10 – 8 Social Capitalist Extraordinaire
7 – 5 Civically Engaged
4 – 2 Out Of Network
1 – 0 Home Alone

Baron got 8: Social Capitalist Extraordinaire!!! Kevin is going to make Baron watch more T.V. to decrease his connection with the community.
Kevin got 5: Civically Engaged--Baron is going to take him out for dinner from now on to increase his connection to the community.