On the Reproduction of Social Capital and Civic Involvement—A Study of Social Media and Immigrants in the Great Helsinki Metropolitan Area
On the Reproduction of SocialCapital and Civic Involvement—A Study of Social Media andImmigrants in the Great Helsinki Metropolitan Area Niklas Wilhelmsson and Sergio Ocampo
• THIS IS ABOUT the significance of social media for the reproduction of social capital• PROBLEM: Does social media reproduce and expand social capital; and if so, how does it happen?• DATA: from open-ended interviews and participant observation made in a short period during 2011 in Helsinki
• SOCIAL CAPITAL is a producer of civic engagement, mainly referring to social networks, reciprocity norms, mutual cooperation, and trust• BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL always involves interaction between people THUS linked to the concept SOCIAL INTEGRATION
Table 1 Internet Usage among Immigrants in Finland.Internet use Yes No Don’t know TotalCommunication (e-mails, phone calls) 68 16 16 100Reading news and e-papers 62 22 16 100Searching information 59 25 16 100Entertainment, music and movies 45 40 16 100Chat 29 55 16 100Internet communities (Facebook) 18 66 16 100Games 15 69 16 100Blogs 10 74 16 100 Total number of respondents 434. Data from Maasilta et. al. (2010).
Main Observations• Social media may certainly have potential for the integration process as it may facilitate the integration process.• Social capital can not be generated without also meeting in real life.
Conclusions• The interviews show that social media may certainly have the potential for creating and maintaining social capital. – to maintain in contact with people living in the country of origin• Social media may however also be used to establish new social connections in the country of migration
• Social media is more effective in creating social capital if there from the beginning is some level of social capital existing• Immigrants sometimes seem to have problems in establishing social connections to Finnish people on social media, if they lack existing connections to Finns.