THE SOURCE: “Effects of Internet Commerce on Social Trust” by Diana C. Mutz, in Public Opinion Quarterly, Fall 2009.
Hardly a day goes by without some headline declaring a new ill the Internet is visiting upon society. Oneoft-heard lament: Local shopkeepers are losing business to online retailers, and as a result, small interactions that once strengthened the social fabric of a neighborhood or town are no more. Is the Internet eroding the connections that keep societytogether?
Not at all, writes Diana C. Mutz, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania.Face-to-face interactions may be on the wane, but positive e-commerce experiences (and 80 percent of those who have purchased online characterize their experience positively) tend to boost a generalized sense of faith in other people, particularlystrangers.
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