Does the Internet Strengthen Community: Absolutely!

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Does the Internet Strengthen Community?

To answer this question I must explain the difference between the words “does” and “can” as to most people they can mean the same thing. “Can” means to be able to; “Does” means to make or perform. Therefore, can the internet strengthen community? Absolutely! It has the potential and is able to introduce people which could become strong companions, friends, partners, etc. However, does the internet strengthen community? No! The internet does not make communities stronger. People make communities stronger. No matter what kind of communities there are, i.e. neighborhood communities, work communities, school communities, or so on, it is people who interact and connect with that group that gives the community its strength. Jonathan N. Cummings, Brian Butler and Robert Kraut (collectively referred to as “Cummings”) states the traditional face-to-face and telephone conversations build strong social relationships. Though people can meet others online, relationships where a person can call or see a friend face-to-face is a stronger relationship than any that is strictly online because being able to hear their tone of voice, see their smile, feel their touch creates a stronger bond than typing on a keyboard. Encouragement coming from a friend who can actually pat you on the back or cheer for you from the bleachers is better than getting a congratulations in an e-mail or on a message board. A relationship in person is an interactive relationship where you both can actively participate in each other’s lives, which is where the bond and strength comes from. Strictly online relationships are just watching each other’s lives from the side lines. give an example of how "actively participating requires face-to-face interaction, and how online relationships are necessarily limited to "watching". In fact, some people who have internet relationships never truly bond or connect at all.  They may consider themselves friends...
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