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L14.p7 - The Benefits of Facebook"Friends Social Capital...

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The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College ... http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html 1 of 26 09-03-05 08.26 JCMC Home Submit Issues Author Index Editors About JCMC Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook "friends:" Social capital and college students' use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication , 12 (4), article 1. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites Nicole B. Ellison Charles Steinfield Cliff Lampe Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media Michigan State University Go to a section in the article: Abstract This study examines the relationship between use of Facebook, a popular online social network site, and the formation and maintenance of social capital. In addition to assessing bonding and bridging social capital, we explore a dimension of social capital that assesses one's ability to stay connected with members of a previously inhabited community, which we call maintained social capital. Regression analyses conducted on results from a survey of undergraduate students (N=286) suggest a strong association between use of Facebook and the three types of social capital, with the strongest relationship being to bridging social capital. In addition, Facebook usage was found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction. Introduction Social network sites (SNSs) such as such as Friendster, CyWorld, and MySpace allow individuals to present themselves, articulate their social networks, and establish or maintain connections with others. These sites can be oriented towards work-related contexts (e.g., LinkedIn.com), romantic relationship initiation (the original goal of Friendster.com), connecting those with shared interests such as music or politics (e.g., MySpace.com), or the college student population (the original incarnation of Facebook.com). Participants may use the sites to interact with people they already know offline or to meet new people. The online social network application analyzed in this article, Facebook, enables its users to present themselves in an online profile, accumulate "friends" who can post comments on each other's pages, and view each other's profiles. Facebook members can also join virtual groups based on common interests, see what classes they have in common, and learn each others' hobbies, interests, musical tastes, and romantic relationship status through the profiles. Facebook constitutes a rich site for researchers interested in the affordances of social networks due to its heavy usage patterns and technological capacities that bridge online and offline connections. We believe that Facebook represents an understudied offline to online trend in that it originally primarily served a geographically-bound community (the campus). When data were collected for this study, membership was
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