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A Study of New Communication Technologies and Civic Engagement : A Time to Reconceptualize the Research Constructs?
Unformatted Document Text:  14 gratifications” experiences of using communication technologies. Indeed, it is important to note that idiosyncratic experience of using any communication medium cannot be explained solely on the basis of its design and/or technology platform. Media technologies are shaped by human needs and desires and this is where culture and individual differences may play a decisive role in determining the character of communication media and associated effects. The selection effects can probably explain a significant portion of “media effects” variance, in accordance with the somewhat forgotten “uses and gratifications” approach. This approach may offer us another interesting research perspective for studying communication technologies, i.e. utilizing different human needs and uses as levels of analysis; for example, oral or written person- to-person communication, consumption of musical or pictorial stimuli, etc. Defining Social Capital in the Age of Network Society In the above review of civic engagement literature, I have not seriously questioned some of the key premises of the Putnam’s theory, namely that social capital leads to better economic efficiency and more civic democracy in addition to facilitating individual prosperity and well being. However, there is relatively little evidence that clearly demonstrates the causal path from social capital to any of above “goodies” and it is still unclear whether joining the Elks, Kiwanis or the local bowling leagues will make us better, richer and happier citizens as Putnam (2000) argues. Firstly, it is questionable whether civility, happiness and wealth really cluster together on an individual level although we have some evidence for such clustering at the societal level, namely at the

Authors: Skoric, Marko.
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gratifications” experiences of using communication technologies. Indeed, it is important
to note that idiosyncratic experience of using any communication medium cannot be
explained solely on the basis of its design and/or technology platform. Media
technologies are shaped by human needs and desires and this is where culture and
individual differences may play a decisive role in determining the character of
communication media and associated effects. The selection effects can probably explain a
significant portion of “media effects” variance, in accordance with the somewhat
forgotten “uses and gratifications” approach. This approach may offer us another
interesting research perspective for studying communication technologies, i.e. utilizing
different human needs and uses as levels of analysis; for example, oral or written person-
to-person communication, consumption of musical or pictorial stimuli, etc.
Defining Social Capital in the Age of Network Society
In the above review of civic engagement literature, I have not seriously
questioned some of the key premises of the Putnam’s theory, namely that social capital
leads to better economic efficiency and more civic democracy in addition to facilitating
individual prosperity and well being. However, there is relatively little evidence that
clearly demonstrates the causal path from social capital to any of above “goodies” and it
is still unclear whether joining the Elks, Kiwanis or the local bowling leagues will make
us better, richer and happier citizens as Putnam (2000) argues. Firstly, it is questionable
whether civility, happiness and wealth really cluster together on an individual level
although we have some evidence for such clustering at the societal level, namely at the


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