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Burke, M., Kraut, R., Marlow, C. (2011). Social capital on Facebook: Differentiating uses and users. ACM CHI 2011: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Though social network site use is often treated as a monolithic activity, in which all time is equally “social” and its impact the same for all users, we examine how Facebook affects social capital depending upon: (1) types of site activities, contrasting one-on-one communication, broadcasts to wider audiences, and passive consumption of social news, and (2) individual differences among users, including social communication skill and self-esteem. Longitudinal surveys matched to server logs from 415 Facebook users reveal that receiving messages from friends is associated with increases in bridging social capital, but that other uses are not. However, using the site to passively consume news assists those with lower social fluency draw value from their connections. The results inform site designers seeking to increase social connectedness and the value of those connections.

Authors

Burke, Moira

I'm a Ph.D. candidate in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. With my advisor, Bob Kraut, I perform research that bridges computer science and social psychology, particularly large-scale computational analysis of social patterns in online communities....

Kraut, Robert

I started my career as a traditional social psychologist, but working in the telecommunications industry for twelve years shifted my focus from disciplines to problems. As a researcher, I have broad interests in the design and social impact of information technologies in small groups, in the home...

Marlow, Cameron

I am a research scientist and "in-house sociologist" at Facebook. My research focuses on various aspects of online communities including the diffusion of information across online social networks, access to information and social capital, and the incentives that impact social media...

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