Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lab #1: Trust-an Investigation of social Capital

Trust Lab:

1. Would you trust a stranger with your cell phone? If it was a kid? If it was a black man? If it was a white woman? If they were wearing ratted old clothing (appear to be poor)?
2.    How many people would you lend your house key to (other than family)
3.   How much do you trust your best friend on a scale of 1-10?
4.  How much do you trust everyday acquaintances on a scale of 1-10?
5.     Teachers:
a.     Would you leave your students at UNCSA alone for a couple minutes in a room taking a test?
b.     Does it depend on the class you are teaching? (grade level, advanced class)

We think that people in our community have low levels of trust. Many students probably will not lend their house key to anybody outside of their family. We also predict that people will stereotype strangers when deciding whether or not to lend their cell phone.  People will make this decision based off of whether or not they think the person will either steal the phone or if it is a man asking a woman, whether or not the woman thinks he is flirting with her. We also predict that for question 3, many people will recognize the fact that we are asking about their BEST friend therefore they will rate the level of trust as a 9 or 10.  However when the question is changed to “How much do you trust your everyday acquaintances (class mates, other people in your art form, hall mates etc) on a scale of 1-10?” we believe that the results will be lower. If the teachers say they can leave their students alone during a test, it is probably because the students are a certain age or the teacher is thinking of one of their “good classes”.  In other words, the class usually turns in assignments on time, listens to directions, is respectful, etc.  Overall, we think that since we are interviewing teachers here at UNCSA, they will more often than not, trust their students; a public high school may be a different situation.

Conclusions (after the survey):
Our prediction of low levels of trust was confirmed by the results of the survey.  80% of students interviewed would not trust a stranger with their cell phone!  These students said “no” before we even asked whether their decision depended on the age, gender or appearance of the stranger!  The other students who said “yes” seemed wary when we mentioned the fact that the stranger may appear to be poor.  They were clearly worried about the possibly of the stranger stealing the phone.  80% of the students surveyed stated a number equal to or less than 5 for people they would lend their house key to outside of their family.  This also shows the limited amount of trust placed in people within the community.  Results for the last two questions for students show that almost always there is a high level of trust placed in a person’s best friend and not much trust placed in people we encounter on an everyday basis.   It seems to be that today, people find an outlet for their trust in one, or maybe two people rather than whole communities in the way that people used to, when all the families living on a street were friendly with one another.  This shows the direct link from trust to social capital.  When you trust others to act appropriately and they do so, because they would expect the same from you, this is a friendship and many friendships where reciprocity of kind deeds is practiced is social capital.  On the other hand, the lack of trust in Americans today shows the reason for the lack of social capital, or networking between people in a community for the common good.  For example, in 1970, 75% of Americans trusted each other and today, only 30% of Americans trust each other.  This decline in trust and therefore, social capital is due to the notion for individual success and the quickened pace of life, where nobody seems to have time for anybody else.  

Lab #2: "If it's on Facebook then it has to be real."

As a social experiment, we decided to change my relationship status on Facebook from single to in an open relationship with Isaiah Bindel.  Immediately after the alteration to my profile occurred,  the change showed up on the live feed of my group member sitting next me.  A few hours later, on the way to dinner, I had two people come up to me and ask me about the said relationship.  Later, when I logged back on to Facebook, over ten people had "liked" the post and my friend who lives Massachusetts had commented.  Over the next two days, over ten people asked me if the relationship was real since they saw it on Facebook.  Everyone who mentioned it to me told me people had asked them if it was real also and had been talking out it.  I asked around twenty people if they had at least seen the relationship on Facebook and only one person had not viewed it.  This obviously shows that we are extremely connected through this website.  More people commented and liked the post than came up to me in person and asked me out it.  The fact that large groups of people saw the relationship without even being in my close group of friends or even living in the same state as me shows that Facebook is how we get to know about one and others lives.  Opposed to talking to each other one on one and learning about each others' current lives we simply log onto Facebook and learn about each other from a screen.  Facebook does allow you to keep in touch with those from across the country but it also is stops people from going outside and having a one on one conversation with their friends. This experiment shows how people are connected through Facebook opposed to connecting in person. Facebook is greatly reducing our Social Capitol.

Lab #3: Commercial Analysis

Commercial #1: The Crazy Life

I would say this a pretty powerful commercial. Is this what our nation has come to? Uploading music while in labor, texting while praying in church? Given this commercial is a little over the top but if you think about it we are not to far from living this extreme techno-obsessed lifestyle. Imagine a scenario that is very common in typical families today:
 A father wanting to take his wife and kids out for some family fun. His daughter is to busy texting her boyfriend to even take her eyes off her cell phone screen and his son is so engaged in his X-Box game that he hasn't even noticed his dad talking to him. His wife is in her office doing work because "somebody has to support this family" and she can't stop becuase one of her co-workers just might get ahead of her. The father gave in and forgot all about it, it was obviously too much to ask of his family. If things had been different this typical family WOULD have gone out together maybe to a movie or to the park. They could have invited their neighbor or the daughter could have invited her boyfriend instead of just texting him all day. They could have run into a friend of the son's and they could have talked about the latest sport stats. None of this happened because they were to fixed in on their own personal needs. They could have gained so much social capital in that one evening not to mention all the times they have turned down their dad's idea of having fun together but they didn't. Instead they paid attention to what they personally wanted and in the end its going to come back to haunt them.

Commercial #2: It's Magic!

This next commercial has a lady singing in the background saying: "Oh it's magic" Some of the reason people are becoming more anti-social is because technology is always there for you. The excitement of what the cell phone companies are going to come out with next is a great feeling to have. People are disappointing and unpredictable. In a world where things are falling apart, people can always rely on their iPhone to always have Facebook, Twitter, Email, Games Music and so much more right there for them. Have you ever seen anybody that has lost or broken their cell phone? I mean the people that are work-a-holics that literally live their life on their cell phone? They are a complete and total mess. They don't know what to do with themselves. Most likely these people don't have a lot of social capital because without their technological life going full speed ahead they don't have a life. If they had built real live relationships with the people in their lives everyday they would see that there is so much more to life than what your customers are buying all the way in Japan. Those customers in Japan can't help you if your car breaks down in the middle of the road, they can't lend you an egg if are one short of making a cake like your next door neighbors can. So the next time you get excited to see that Verizon has a new phone that has a screen that flips around 15 different ways just say to yourself...WHO CARES?!

Commercial #3: Apple iPhone
On the other hand, this commercial shows how some technology actually can bring us together. It shows how if you have help from technological things like the iPhone family trips can be easier. I know that when my family goes on a family trip it takes A LOT of planning. Without technologies help our family fun would just turn into disaster. Sometimes people wonder if it is worth all of the hassle to go through with a family vacation.    More and more people are getting the iPhone and  that means they are gaining the confidence and courage to plan these big family vacations without being a nervous wreck the whole time. More vacations means more social capital!!! Whoop!!