Internet: The Effect Of Internet On Social Capital

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The effect of internet on social capital
Messaging and social networking is the most used internet function, which allows one to communicate not only with their family, friends or colleagues, but also with anonymous people. The internet can supplement face-to-face or telephone contacts. But the Internet may isolate individuals and reduce the time spent participating in social activities, especially if Internet users are mainly engaged in solitary activities (web-surfing, news reading, etc.). For example, Attewell, Suazo-Garcia and Battle (2003) showed that adolescents with a home computer spend less time practicing sports or playing outside. Moreover, face-to face interactions are typically richer than virtual
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The Internet may serve to maintain or intensify existing social ties with close friends and family (called the strong-tie investments). Secondly, the internet can be used to maintain ties with acquaintances or create new ties with virtual acquaintances (called weak-tie investments). That means that computer-mediated communication can be used to strengthen strong ties, but also to expand weak ties (Resnick 2001, Riphagen and Kanfer 1997). It may modify the composition of social capital if the internet is more favourable to either of weak-tie investments or strong-tie investments. By changing the proportion of strong and weak ties in an internet user’s social capital, it may affect their ability to obtain support and emotional aid (that is provided by strong ties) and to access new ideas, scarce resources or job opportunities (that is provided by weak ties) (Granovetter 1973, 1983, 2005; Friedkin
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