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Research Article Open Access

The effects of social networking sites on the acquisition of social capital among college students: A pilot study

Abstract

This pilot study aims specifically to explore whether or not university social networking site (SNS) users are making networking decisions to further their social capital or to create more balanced networks by making decisions based on common traits and interests. This study centers on the hypothesis that graduate student use SNS more to acquire social capital than undergraduates and that undergraduate students use SNS to form balanced social networks based on commonalties more so than graduate students. Differences are expected based off of demographic and psychographic variations between undergraduate and graduate students. For the investigation, an online survey was sent out via university email to undergraduate and graduate students inquiring as to their basic demographics, SNS use and delivering a social capital and commonalities instrument. Despite directionality in the data, no significant differences were found between undergraduate and graduate student networking decisions in terms of social capital and common interest acquisition habits. However the social capital instrument was found to have a high degree of reliability and potential for further use.

George Konetes and Matthew McKeague

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