A meta-analysis of social networking online and social capital
Social networking sites offer new avenues for interpersonal communication that may enable people to build social capital. The meta-analyses reported in this paper evaluated the relationship between social network site (SNS) use and 2 types of social capital: bridging social capital and bonding social capital. The meta-analyses included data from 58 articles gathered through scholarly databases and a hand search of the early publications of relevant journals. Using a random effects model, the overall effect size of the relationship between SNS use and bridging social capital based on k = 50 studies and N = 22,290 participants was r = .32 (95% CI [.27, .37]), and the overall effect size between SNS use and bonding social capital based on k = 43 studies and N = 19,439 participants was r = .26 (95% CI [.22, .31]). The relationships between SNS use and both types of social capital were stronger in men than in women, and the relationship between SNS use and bridging capital was stronger in Western, individualistic countries than Eastern, collectivistic countries. Additional analyses of specific SNS activities indicated that SNS use promotes social capital by facilitating contact and interaction among people who already know each other offline rather than contact with people who were met online. The implication is that SNSs offer a platform to strengthen existing relationships.
Review of General Psychology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Liu, Ainsworth, S. E., & Baumeister, R. F. (2016). A Meta-Analysis of Social Networking Online and Social Capital. Review of General Psychology, 20(4), 369–391. https://doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000091