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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/3607

Title: The Role of Facebook in Building Social Capital
Advisors: Wassie Kebede (PhD, MSW)
Keywords: Betweenness
Copyright: Jul-2011
Date Added: 3-Nov-2012
Publisher: AAU
Abstract: This study investigates the role of Facebook in building social capital. The study was conducted with eight students doing their graduate studies in Addis Ababa University. The premise for the selection of the University as the study site is available baseline data which indicates that the University is the largest internet user in the country. The research follows the procedures of an exploratory case study design in examining the experiences of use of Facebook and its outcomes on social capital. A semi structured interview guide was developed and used as the data collection instrument. Two analytic techniques were applied in this study: social network analysis and cross case analysis. The first was used in analyzing data pertaining to the nature of relationships between study participants and five of their most frequent contacts on Facebook. Cross case analysis was used in analyzing the bulk of data obtained from study participants pertaining to their general experiences and perceptions in relation to Facebook. Four key findings emerged from this study. First, Facebook is primarily used for the purpose of maintaining existing offline ties, particularly those established in higher learning institutions and the workplace. Second, study participants’ egocentric networks on Facebook were low in density, high in ego betweenness centrality and highly homophilous, which implies better accessibility of social capital by study participants. Third, the social capital outcomes of Facebook use were found to be multifaceted in the implications they hold for the psychological, social, cultural and economic development of study participants. Last, challenges associated with Facebook use pertained to: internet inaccessibility, privacy concerns and problems in effective utilization. In conclusion, based on the responses provided by study participants the type of social capital that pervades most Facebook relationships was found to be bonding social capital, although bridging functions of Facebook relationships were also identified. This study tries to situate the social work profession and discipline in how the findings implicate practice, research and education. The practical implications relate to social workers’ role as facilitators to enhance universal accessibility of the internet and utilize Facebook as a platform to promote the social work profession. In terms of the implications for research, Facebook could be seen as providing the context for examining different aspects of human behavior and social dynamics. Last, the implications of the study for social work education could be understood in terms of introducing prospective social workers with concepts and techniques in social network analysis.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/3607
Appears in:Hydrogeology

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