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Research Article Open Access

Closing the Gap: Using a Series of Social Networking Environments to Collapse Time and Space by Giving and Receiving Social Support

Abstract

Social networks are altering learning, communication, and relationship patterns as they have the potential to close gaps once created by physical distance. This study, based on findings from a qualitative research project that featured open-ended interviews and content analysis of social network usage among 16 Brazilians who had relocated to the United States, explores social network environments within the communities of practice framework. Findings indicate that participation in social networks foster Wenger’s (1998) three dimensions of communities of practice: mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire. These dimensions worked to break isolation by sharing information and providing social support among the participants in the series of social network environments that were studied.

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