Literature Review: Facebook and Social Capital

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In what way does Facebook add value to our social capital?
Literature review

Social networks are a set part of most our daily life’s. Most of us probably also perceive it as beneficial and a positive addition. But do we really use this tool in the most effective way, increasing our social capital - a construct describing the total resources in our networks (Vitak & Ellison 2012)-to the maximum? I am interested in the return on Investment, that we actually receive using these Social Networking sites, specifically looking into the usage of Facebook, as most of my personal social networking takes place on this specific social networking platform.

The early study of Ellison et al. (2007) examined the ability of maintaining social capital while moving to another community. Studying Facebook users they found, that controversially to previous observations of researchers, social networks were not necessarily exclusively an online community, but could also be an offline to online community (Ellison et al. 2007). This built the base for further research on the impact of social networking on social life. Credibility of this survey is limited due to the small sample size (N=286) and its demographic monotony, where only surveys among college students were conducted (Ellison et al. 2007). The survey was executed during the entry phase of Facebook, which makes its causality vague.

When talking about social capital most researchers differ between bonding and bridging social capital (Ellison et al. 2007, Jung et al. 2013, Burke et al. 2011). Bridging social capital provides insight to novel information, which presents us with different perspectives and opinions, usually spread by broadcasting information to a wide audience or passive consumption of such information. Bonding social capital provides us with emotional and comforting responses of closer friends and family; it is affected by direct communication with other individuals (Burke et al. 2011). Burke et...
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