What follows was originally going to be a response to this post, but it went beyond polite comment length. A snippet of Matthew Heusser's post and my thought afterwards:
"What I'm wondering is - can we use these new social media tools - facebook, (cough) myspace, twitter, instant messanger and so on - to pull together in the way that families did in the 1930's? And what would that look like, exactly?"
IMHO, modernity is aiding a kind of isolationist brand of communication that placates to our 'right' to convenience.
The family nuclear may be embroiled in a kind of diaspora, but I think the idea of community is still alive and well. What I am skeptical of, however, is the quality of community these tools create around us. If all I listen to is what Pandora thinks I like, I end up with a pretty boring selection of songs.
I also am concerned about the means by which we engage in community. To me, technology is springing up to solve a problem we created for ourselves, which really is no solution at all. The irony of me saying this while commenting on a blog for someone I've never met - is not lost on me.
Community costs us. It costs time. It costs our dreams. It costs our entitlement. It suffers when we soak in myopicism. We can expedite the salutations and introductions, but we will not create something that can profoundly affect us (and others) as it should.