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The Role of ICT in building communities and social capital: a discussion paper

Information and communication technologies (ICT) impact on the communities in which we live and the way individuals, business, government and civil society interact and develop. Simultaneously, all sectors have shown increased interest in the concept of social capital and the role it can play in building stronger communities, increasing economic productivity and contributing to rural and regional rejuvenation.

As the use and impact of ICT increases, so does the prospect that ICT can play a role in shaping the nature of community development and contributing to the building of social capital. Accompanying case studies illustrate the scope and nature of some social and community impacts of ICT.

The role of ICT in building communities and social capital:

The papers are intended to stimulate public discussion and provide a basis for consultation on the social and community impacts of ICT. Interested parties are invited to provide comments and submissions on the issues raised in these papers. DCITA anticipates using the results of this consultation to inform future activities and policy directions.

The role of ICT in building communities and social capital: summary of discussion points

Trust

Trust is an essential element of and required to build social capital. It is also something that develops over time and operates at a number of levels and in different forms (i.e. transactional trust, social trust).

  • How can trust be developed and maintained in relation to online engagement with business, government and organisations?
  • How can trust be developed and maintained in the various forms of online communities?
  • Moreover, what undermines trust in each of these contexts?
  • What role (if any) should business and government play in developing and sustaining different forms of trust in each of these contexts?
  • What other (if any) values and norms have a significant impact in the online world?
  • Are citizens and consumers sufficiently aware of the online threats that they need to consider and safeguard against? If not, what practical measures might address this?
  • Are there effective sanctions for those who transgress online against shared values and norms?
Social networks

  • How is the Internet (and ICT generally) impacting on the building and development of social networks?
  • What is the role of government (if any) in the ways that the Internet is being used to build and develop social networks?
ICT and social capital

  • What is the potential (and limit) of the Internet (and ICT generally) to build and maintain bridging social capital?
  • Are there potential (and actual) negative aspects of the building of social capital online? If so, what are they?
  • What is the role of government (if any) in addressing the potentially negative aspects of building social capital?
The impact of ICT on social capital

  • What other evidence is there that ICT can and is both supplementing and transforming social capital?
  • What factors might restrict the potential of ICT to supplement and transform social capital?
  • What is the role of government (if any) in supporting the potential of ICT to supplement and transform social capital?
 

Document ID: 23621 | Last modified: 3 October 2013, 12:06am