Online Social Capital in Political Contexts: Does the Online Make Any Difference?
23 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 11, 2013
This paper is a first attempt to provide a detailed and systematic account of social capital in online networks. Based on the Twitter conversations behind the Occupy Movement, this paper presents an inductive analysis of the networks formed through these conversations, and their levels of closure and brokerage - the metrics usually associated with the network structure of social capital - over time. The datasets used cover some of the most relevant hashtags used by the Occupy activists - #ows, #occupywallstreet, #occupyoakland, #occupyboston, and #occupylondon - and aims to account for the general trends behind the online discussions surrounding the protests. Preliminary findings show that the structure of the net- works seem to follow a familiar pattern, much like what would be expected in offline settings. However, the low levels of closure in all networks raise interesting questions about the process of formation of trust within these networks.
Keywords: Social Capital, Network Analysis, Online Politics, Occupy
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