What happy people do… socialize…

I just read in the NYT about a study based on data collected from 45,000 Americans to understand what kind of activities people do who are happy. It turns out: they socialize – instead of watching TV. Not a big surprise, but again something that needed proof.

Connected to this: I had lunch with one of my new colleagues today and we were discussing the impact of social networking services on the creation, maintenance and increase of one’s own social capital. Now, most of the studies done so far seem to focus on the fact that spending time online takes away time from face-to-face interactions.  And spending time online is therefore seen as an “unsocial” activity. Our hypothesis is that interactions online (probably connected with some initial face-to-face contact) have the ability to actually increase our social capital: more informal interactions, higher frequency of interaction, which would otherwise not happen, due to busy schedules, obligations, work, etc.

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About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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