It’s All About Networking! Empirical Investigation of Social Capital Formation on Social Network Sites

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Koroleva, Ksenia; Krasnova, Hanna; Veltri, Natasha; Günther, Oliver
article description
As Social Network Sites (SNS) permeate our daily routines, the question whether participation results in value for SNS users becomes particularly acute. This study adopts a 'participation-source-outcome' perspective to explore how distinct uses of SNS generate various types of social capital benefits. Building on existing research, extensive qualitative findings and an empirical study with 253 Facebook users, we uncover the process of social capital formation on SNS. We find that even though active communication is an important prerequisite, it is the diversified network structure and the increased social connectedness that are responsible for the attainment of the four benefits of social capital on SNS: emotional support, networking value, horizon broadening and offline participation. Moreover, we propose and validate scales to measure social capital benefits in the novel context of SNS.