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Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Ekaterina Romanova
Internet Social Network Activity As A Factor Of Individual Social Capital
Faculty of Psychology
Bachelor’s programme
2014
Internet Social Network Activity As A Factor Of Individual Social CapitalIn the era of rapid development of communication technologies, the question of transmission and acquisition of resources that users may get from their contacts online becomes particularly important. Social networks on the Internet are becoming a wide-spread phenomenon, demonstrating an intensification of the process of globalization. Owners and designers of social networks have already realized the importance of this fact; however, the mechanisms of influence of social networks on what kind of "virtual income" they bring to users as a resource are yet to be explored in the literature. In addition, there is a contradiction in existing research. Some show a positive influence of users' activity on online social networks on their real social relations (Antoci et al., 2012; Fischer & Reuber, 2011; Hofer & Aubert, 2013; Jung et al., 2012; Al-Kandari and Hasanen, 2012; Mical et al., 2013), while others argue that virtual relationships replace real and negatively affect real relationships (Kraut et al., 1998 Mulikova, 2012, Yao and Zhong, 2014).In our proposed study, we made an attempt to identify the influence of users' activity on popular online social networks (both national and international) on their individual social capital. For this purpose, we measured varied indicators of activity on social networks such as the number of virtual and mixed contacts and the frequency and duration of use of social networks. For measuring individual social capital, we used a modified technique by Van der Gaag (Van der Gaag, 2005), which included a number of users’ friends and family members, the frequency of communication with them, and the potential help that users can get from their relatives and friends. The variable included 8 different types of help, ranging from financial advice to assistance in calling a doctor in case of illness. Respondents were asked to indicate how many relatives and friends could render one of the presented types of help. We found that social network activity positively affects the number of friends and amount of help that people can get from them. Thus, we may conclude that social networks serve as a tool making available resources, primarily from friends.

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