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Social capital on Facebook

Posted May 19, 2014
Picture: Palmer's Mystery Hike No. 2 Author: Tom Lennon Year: 1932. Source:

Picture author: Tom Lennon. Year: 1932. Source:

How is social capital gained on Facebook? A recent study, conducted by Austrian scientists, provides us with answers to this query.

Angela Bohn and her associates explored, how various measures of social capital can be raised on Facebook. An example of such measure is reaction.

The researchers defined the reaction as “the number of likes and comments that an ego received on his or her posts.” Communications of 400,000 users were analyzed to investigate this matter.

It was found that when a number of friends is low (approximately 500), access to social capital is increased by every additional member. However, this effect disappears, when the number of friends becomes higher. “The number of communication partners is a more reliable indicator for the access to social capital on Facebook than the number of friends. Optimal social capital scores are most likely at a level of 130 communication partners,” the scientists reported. In addition, the study discovered that people, who do not possess high access to social capital, tend to form clusters. In contrast, people who have elevated access to social capital, are usually involved in more heterogeneous networks.

The data analysis also revealed that intensity of activity in online social networks has its own limits. “We found that most social capital measures increase only up to a certain level of the predictor. Beyond this level, the associations are very heterogeneous, which suggests that an exaggerated level of activity is only partly accepted by friends,” the researchers reported.

Article: Bohn A., Buchta C., Hornik K., Mair P.,Making friends and communicating on Facebook: Implications for the access to social capital, Volume 37, May 2014, Pages 29-41. Source link.

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