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Lessons from :
Social Network Sites and College Students’ Social Capital
Sebastián Valenzuela
Namsu Park
Kerk F. Kee
9th I...
Who we are?
• Moral panic! Unsafe disclosure of
information, cyberbullying,
addiction, risky behavior,
dangerous communities...
• Is t...
What are we talking about?
• Intensity of Facebook use:
– # of contacts
– Time and frequency
– Emotional attachment
• Soci...
The kids are alright
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Intensity of
Facebook Use
Intensity of
Facebook
Groups Us...
What we found
• Hierarchical multiple regressions, controlling for
gender, age, year in school, race/ethcnicity,
parental ...
Meaning?
• FB users are more connected, happy and engaged
than what they get credited for in the MSM.
• Luddites, Putnamit...
Lessons for J’s
• SNS useful structures for connecting people, sharing
info. and for collective action... BUT not that muc...
Contact information
Link to project site:
http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~kpv/index.html
E-mail:
kpv@uts.cc.utexas.edu
Contact information
Link to project site:
http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~kpv/index.html
E-mail:
kpv@uts.cc.utexas.edu
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ISOJ 2008

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Valenzuela

  1. 1. Lessons from : Social Network Sites and College Students’ Social Capital Sebastián Valenzuela Namsu Park Kerk F. Kee 9th International Symposium on Online Journalism Austin, Texas April 2008
  2. 2. Who we are?
  3. 3. • Moral panic! Unsafe disclosure of information, cyberbullying, addiction, risky behavior, dangerous communities... • Is there social capital and civic/political engagement in Facebook? • If so, what can journalists learn from SNS? • Random web survey of college students across Texas (n = 2,603) Why care?
  4. 4. What are we talking about? • Intensity of Facebook use: – # of contacts – Time and frequency – Emotional attachment • Social Capital in 3-D: – Intrapersonal dimension: life satisfaction – Interpersonal dimension: social trust – Behavioral dimension: civic and political participation
  5. 5. The kids are alright 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Intensity of Facebook Use Intensity of Facebook Groups Use Life Satisfaction Social Trust Civic Engagement Political Engagement Low Moderate High
  6. 6. What we found • Hierarchical multiple regressions, controlling for gender, age, year in school, race/ethcnicity, parental education, residency. • Comparing intense FB users to light FB users: – Life satisfaction +15% – Social trust + 5% – Civic participation + 16% (+10% FB Groups) – Political participation + 2% (+27% FB Groups)
  7. 7. Meaning? • FB users are more connected, happy and engaged than what they get credited for in the MSM. • Luddites, Putnamites, and pessimists, behold! Positive, significant associations between FB and social capital variables were small (10% variance at most). • Online networks are not a panacea for democracy (but not their gravediggers, either). • Causal-effect relationship? Spurious association? Self-selection bias? Will see... Perhaps virtuous circle?
  8. 8. Lessons for J’s • SNS useful structures for connecting people, sharing info. and for collective action... BUT not that much for exchanging POVs. • Challenges for news sites adopting SNS structure: – Understanding who’s using SNS? – Can own SNS emulate the benefits of global SNS? – Developing useful applications within SNS • As SNS and other Web 2.0 technologies diffuse, their relationship to social capital may be different from the picture reflected in our data.
  9. 9. Contact information Link to project site: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~kpv/index.html E-mail: kpv@uts.cc.utexas.edu
  10. 10. Contact information Link to project site: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~kpv/index.html E-mail: kpv@uts.cc.utexas.edu

ISOJ 2008

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