Access to specific social resources across different social media : divergent consequences of the time spent with new contacts

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Abstract

Despite a large number of studies on the social impact of the Internet, little is known about the specific social resources to which social media provide access. Most studies have either examined issues surrounding the question whether or not new online contacts have been established or they have focused on the distinction between perceived bridging capital and bonding capital. Research has rarely focused on the kind of specific benefits that may arise due to the establishment of new online contacts. In this context, the study examines the specific forms of social capital which can be accessed via different social media (i.e. email lists, instant messaging, multiplayer games, weblogs and -forums, chat rooms, social networking sites and an own weblog). This article makes a distinction between the maintenance of existing contacts and the making of new contacts. Utilizing a random sample of Internet users from a major city in the Netherlands, we find that new online relationships do not always provide access to specific resources. But the type of social media employed for communication with new contacts has an influence on the provision (or non-provision) of access to resources and to the kind of resources which are accessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1157
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Volume18
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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