Do social networking sites build and maintain social capital online in rural communities?

Tiwari, Sanjib and Lane, Michael and Alam, Khorshed (2019) Do social networking sites build and maintain social capital online in rural communities? Journal of Rural Studies, 66. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0743-0167

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Abstract

Social capital (SC) is a cornerstone of rural communities but is not well understood in terms of how Social Networking Sites (SNS) can be used to build and maintain SC online. There are limited studies which have attempted to measure SC online and its two distinct dimensions – bonding and bridging SC. The main objectives of this paper are to: (i) confirm that building and maintaining of SC online can be measured reliably and validly as two factors of bonding and bridging SC, and (ii) to determine to what extent the use of SNS facilitates building and maintaining bonding and bridging SC online when rural households have broadband connectivity. This study used a large-scale survey to collect quantitative data in the Western Downs Region of Queensland, Australia regarding households’ adoption and use of broadband Internet including use of SNS and their contribution to building and maintaining bonding and bridging SC online in rural communities. This study confirmed that SC online can be reliably and validly measured as a first order two-factor hierarchical model providing further support for the findings of previous empirical studies. Evaluating the association between SNS use and building and maintaining bonding and bridging SC online in rural communities showed that Heavy and Light users of SNS in rural communities are more likely to have higher levels of bonding and bridging SC online than Non-users of SNS. The findings also suggest that higher levels of SNS use are more effective in building and maintaining bridging SC online than bonding SC online. This suggests that SNS usages may be able to play an important role in building and maintaining SC and improving social connectivity both within rural communities such as WDR and more widely with other communities regardless of geographical location. This is despite the tyranny of distance and poor telecommunications which has historically been a communication barrier for rural communities.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 March 2020 (12 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 04:51
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2019 05:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: rural communities, social capital (online), bonding social capital, bridging social capital, social networking sites
Fields of Research : 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0806 Information Systems > 080699 Information Systems not elsewhere classified
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0806 Information Systems > 080611 Information Systems Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970108 Expanding Knowledge in the Information and Computing Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2019.01.029
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35621

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