The Internet and social capital
Jones, Jeffrey Clinton
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There is great disagreement within the literature regarding the effect of internet use on social capital. Some research has shown that individual internet use will enhance social capital by allowing users to gain knowledge, build linkages and coordinate action in a way which is efficient effective and inexpensive. Other research has shown that online participation is not able to foster the same feelings of trust gained through face-to-face interactions, and can even lead individuals to become socially disconnected and isolated. This paper addresses these vastly different claims and tests the influence of individual internet use on two major components of social capital; participatory and network capital. The key findings suggest that using email for social contact, and visiting beneficial web sites has a positive effect on individual levels of social capital.