Online community and social capital: Does the network insure community?
Lee, Jung Hee
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This study attempts to explore how online communities work in the context of social capital through a survey of 344 Internet users. Specifically, the research investigates various factors of media use, social capital, and demographics that may have an influence on online community use. This study also examines how different types of media use and community participation are associated with online community use. Although some argue that Internet use may erode individuals' social life, this study found that people who access the Internet for online community use tend to have more sociability and generalized norm than online community non-users. When important socio-psychological factors of social capital, such as trust and life contentment, were considered, however, social capital was not fully related to online community use. Additionally, the study also reveals that the participation of people in online communities is significantly related to Internet use for communication or entertainment purposes and also significantly related to various local communities, such as alumni, cultural, art, music, educational or academic groups, as well as civic organizations.