Predicting social capital on Facebook: The implications of use intensity, perceived content desirability, and Facebook-enabled communication practices

Abstract

New media researchers have shown that Facebook use and norms of online communicative behaviors can affect people’s social network formation and self-perceived social capital. Presumably, individual users vary in perceiving Facebook content posted by others, which may influence the number of working communication features enabled by Facebook. This study thus examines whether perceived content desirability and Facebook-enabled communication practices matter for furthering social capital via Facebook. Specifically, this article examines certain types of Facebook content, including information sharing, self-presentation, and opinion expression. It contends that the three kinds of contents have varying impact on Facebook-specific bridging and bonding social capital through Facebook-enabled communication practices. Analysis of a survey of university students in Hong Kong (N = 406) shows that respondents perceiving high desirability of Facebook contents tend to more actively use Facebook-enabled communicative features than those who do not. The use of technical features, in turn, affects bridging and bonding social capital via Facebook. The analysis thus demonstrates how perceived content desirability can indirectly impact individual-level online social capital.

Publication
Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 259-268