Is There social capital in a social network site? Facebook use and college student's life satisfaction, trust, and participation1

Sebastián Valenzuela, Namsu Park, Kerk F. Kee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1249 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-901
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

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