Sunday, October 24, 2010

True Friend Survey

Posted by Anthony
Mission: To find out whether the UNCSA high school student body has more “true friends” than the national average of 2.
Answer: Yes!
Noah and Anthony each collected separate data from a random sample* of UNCSA students.
One of the difficulties in this study was defining what a “true friend” actually was.  Therefore,
Noah asked people how many true friends they had, with the qualification that a “true friend” = a close friend whom you could trust with anything.
Anthony asked people how many true friends they had, with the qualification that a “true friend” = an above-average friend upon whom you could depend.
Noah’s average (# of true friends per student): 3
Anthony’s average (# of true friends per student): 5
Conclusion:  Both these numbers are above the national average for true friends.  One reason for this might be because students at UNCSA live on campus and constantly interact with each other. UNCSA has a concentrated bubble of socialization, and therefore it can be said that this school has a greater amount of social capital than America as a whole.

*our research team does not discriminate with respect to race, age, gender, orientation, art school , height, hair color, shoe size, vocal range, number of socks, musical preference (except if you like Taylor Swift), or favorite TV show.

Cheesecake, Brownies, and Fig Bars -- Oh My!!

Written by Maria:

I conducted a study to test the trust level of students on the UNCSA campus.  Armed with a partially empty tray of pumpkin cheesecake, fudge brownies, and apricot fig almond bars, I walked up to any student I saw and asked them to take their pick.  Every single student accepted the offer without hesitation and very few even asked where the treats came from - the only inquiries came after the first bite, "wow! did you make these?"  In an hour the huge tray was entirely empty and not a single person had looked at me with even a hint of suspicion. In conclusion:  Either UNCSA students are extraordinarily trusting (of each other), or UNCSA students are willing to try anything edible that doesn't come from the cafeteria, or UNCSA students are always hoping someone will offer them sweets full of drugs.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Facebook Reversal

In this experiment, our team of dedicated social researchers endeavored to investigate the relationship between facebook and social capital.

Each member reversed his/her facebook situation:  those who had facebooks stayed off THE ENTIRE WEEK, and those who didn't (i.e. Chris) made facebooks and used it EVERY DAY!

Prediction: That facebook obviously diminishes social capital by creating artificial communication and consuming time that could be devoted to real interactions.



Here is a video compilation of our responses to the experiment halfway through the week:




Chris' Response

For me, it was apparent that our prediction was mostly accurate.  After making and participating in the world of facebook, I did find that it wastes time and promotes a sort of communication that does not foster true friendship, trust, or any emotions associated with face-to-face interaction.  I can see how facebook is useful and entertaining, but my conclusion is that it, on the whole, decreases social capital.


Anthony's Response

I found that staying off facebook for a week did not significantly alter my social capital.  If anything, it hindered a quick and easy form of communication between me and the people in my life.  Because I had a facebook application on my phone, facebook was a convenient way to send and reply to messages, check useful information on people such as birthdays and phone numbers, and load pictures (for example, I wanted to show some of my face-to-face friends a picture of my brother, but I had no way to do so without facebook).  On the other hand, I didn't realize how much of a distraction facebook was until I abstained from it for an extended period.  While facebook does foster instant communication, it doesn't necessarily foster a sense of community between people; face-to-face interactions build this sense of community naturally.  Therefore, whether or not facebook increases or decreases social capital is undecided for me.  However, I do know that the change was not so large in either direction once I left facebook.  Perhaps this was because I didn't use my facebook that often to begin with.  One possible conclusion might be that only in excess does facebook hinder social capital.


Noah's Response

Not using Facebook for a week was not as hard as I thought it would be. After five o'clock is when I usually get on facebook and this lab helped me be a lot more efficient. I finished homework and other assignments in no time at all and I was able to do things that I haven't been able to do in awhile. My social capital wasn't really affected because my close friends and I don't usally talk through there, but I did miss out on some great photo up dates and event invites.


Nicole's Response

I have deactivated my Facebook for over 2 months now, for personal reasons of course.  I have actually never felt more isolated. I haven’t talked to anyone online, commented on anyone’s status, nor stalked people for about 58 days. I feel so disconnected. Not that I’m encouraging stalking or anything… but it did have its certain benefits. I feel disconnected to people I should be friends with, the people I have met since my deactivation. Now when I make new friends, they say “Facebook me” like as if it’s a word in Noah Webster’s 1783 dictionary. Everyone’s so attached to it. Yet I can understand; it keeps us connected. You can join groups and keep in contact with people from your past or who moved to a different country per say. It increases our social capital, and disabling Facebook completely plummeted mine. And yet I still don’t regret receiving the “you have deactivated your Facebook account” email. I wonder how long I’ll be able to last in my socially inept world without hitting that activate button…


Maria's Response

Facebook never occupied much of my time but after swearing it off I realized that through facebook I made a lot of artificial contact with people I really don't know well at all.  In fact, some people I would carry on entire chatting conversations on facebook and yet we wouldn't even acknowledge each other in "face-to-face" space.  For me, the primary benefit of Facebook is the ease with which I can keep in touch with people I don't see every day. In this sense, a week without facebook didn't do much damage but thinking about it I realized that many of the friendships I hold quite dear would never be maintained as well as they are if it weren't for published albums, wall posts, and facebook messaging.  Ultimately, a change in facebook usage did not heavily affect my social capital in terms of actual connectivity but if I didn't have a facebook at all I would be left out of plans for reunions, commemorating groups or events, notices about meetings and clubs, and I would be way out of the inside joke loop.  The hardest part was receiving an email notification about a message I got and not being able to go read it and respond - but if I didn't have a facebook I wouldn't be getting those emails and thus that would not be an issue at all!