One response to “Depression has “depressing” social consequence

  1. Hi Tom,

    Great post. I remember a Time article Putnam put out not too long ago where he noted that while not completely proven yet, he had a strong sense about television being one of the biggest detractors from civic life/social capital.

    I know the idea has come to mind for me before that it’s essentially like sitting in a room with the people you’re watching on TV–except for the critical fact that there is no interaction back and forth. It makes me feel like it would be a pretty sad form of relating to others to sit in a room with them where only one person would talk the whole time, with no back and forth exchange. This is of course an imperfect analogy, but I think it’s telling that this curious form of being exposed to people through television in a non-reciprocal fashion makes up so much of our leisure time as Americans…

    As a sidenote, it can be used for great purposes, such as the massive viewing of Obama’s address to Congress this week (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/obamas-speech-52-million-plus-tv-viewers/); but I think long-term answers lie in using technology such as TV and the internet as secondary tools to augment human interaction, not replace it.

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