Accumulating Social Capital in an Online Urban Network: The Effects of User Behaviors

27 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2018

See all articles by Yuri Rykov

Yuri Rykov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Yadviga Sinyavskaya

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Olessia Y. Koltsova

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: December 14, 2018

Abstract

Social capital is often accumulated not only in ego-networks, but in larger communities. However, these communities, although seemingly visible through social media, are still under-researched. In this work, we examine аn online friendship network spanning over an entire middle-size city amounting to 194,601 users of VK social network site. We find that the share of user’s in-city friends contributes to his/her brokerage and information influence abilities. More importantly, the number of user’s online groups - that is, user’s access to diverse or disconnected communities - is positively related with his/her bridging capital, and negatively with the bonding capital. Finally, our research questions the validity of some of the existing social capital measures.

Highlights
• All-city network represents a mixture ofsmall-world and scale-free graph models
• Longer SNS use gives a cumulative advantage for making additional friendship ties
• Participation in more SNS groups increases a user's online bridging social capital
• The number of likes on a user’s wall is positively associated with online bridging
• The share of local friends among all user’s VK friends increases online bridging

Keywords: social capital, social network sites, VKontakte, friendship, online user behavior, online communities

JEL Classification: Z19

Suggested Citation

Rykov, Yuri and Sinyavskaya, Yadviga and Koltsova, Olessia Y., Accumulating Social Capital in an Online Urban Network: The Effects of User Behaviors (December 14, 2018). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 83/SOC/2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301266 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3301266

Yuri Rykov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Yadviga Sinyavskaya

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Olessia Y. Koltsova (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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