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Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Is There Social Capital in a Social Network Site?: Facebook Use and College Students’ Life Satisfaction, Trust, and Participation 1

By Sebastián Valenzuela, Namsu Park and Kerk F. Kee


This study examines if Facebook, one of the most popular social network sites among college students in the U.S., is related to attitudes and behaviors that enhance individuals’ social capital. Using data from a random web survey of college students across Texas (n = 2, 603), we find positive relationships between intensity of Facebook use and students’ life satisfaction, social trust, civic engagement, and political participation. While these findings should ease the concerns of those who fear that Facebook has mostly negative effects on young adults, the positive and significant associations between Facebook variables and social capital were small, suggesting that online social networks are not the most effective solution for youth disengagement from civic duty and democracy. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01474.x Moral panic is a common reaction to new forms of communication (Chalaby, 2000; Winston, 1986). The advent of television spawned fears of mass escapism (Klapper, 1960; Pearlin, 1959). In the 1990s, critics held the diffusion of Internet as evidence of individuals ’ increasing alienation from society and public life (see Kraut et al., 1998; Turkle, 1996; White, 1997). The story with Facebook, MySpace, and othe

Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01474.x
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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