Measuring latent ties on Facebook: A novel approach to studying their prevalence and relationship with bridging social capital

Brown, Genavee and Michinov, Nicolas (2019) Measuring latent ties on Facebook: A novel approach to studying their prevalence and relationship with bridging social capital. Technology in Society, 59. p. 101176. ISSN 0160-791X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2019.101176

Abstract

The goal of the current study was to develop an empirical measure of latent ties on Facebook. We begin with a brief literature review of the influence of social media use on social capital and how latent ties fit into this literature. Latent ties are defined as ties with whom a connection is made possible by an affordance of a technological platform, such as the Facebook friend list, but with whom one never communicates. Latent ties have often been considered beneficial for garnering bridging social capital, but their prevalence and relationship to social capital has not been measured empirically. In the current study, we describe a novel approach for measuring latent ties by questionnaire. In a sample of 164 participants, we found that nearly 40% of Facebook users’ networks were latent ties. Furthermore, the percent of latent ties in users’ networks was negatively associated with bridging social capital. Finally, we examined the discriminant validity of the latent ties measure, and found that the percent of latent ties in one’s Facebook network and the total number of Facebook friends (network size) were unrelated. Results are discussed in regard to possible uses of this measure of latent ties in future research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: latent ties, Facebook, Bridging social capital, measure
Subjects: C800 Psychology
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 16:52
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2019 17:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/41312

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