Mediated relations: new methods to study online social capital

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The Web has expanded the research agenda for communication scholars to study social capital. In this field of Internet studies, new indicators of social behavior and social relations have surfaced to describe and understand how social capital develops online and what the consequences are for social capital in general. Specifically, Web 2.0 as characterized by User Generated Content on weblogs and the enormously popular social network sites significantly increased the importance of studying online social capital. To study online social capital, traditional and new means of data collection and analysis can be used. This study focuses on the origins of the concept of social capital, how it is used in communication studies, and the means to measure social capital. Furthermore, two examples of studying online behavior and online social relations are provided to represent webometric tools for data collection and analysis: (1) the analysis of hyperlinks between political actors' websites in South Korea, and (2) semantic network analysis of writings produced by professional journalists online and bloggers in South Korea. These examples use advanced analytical methods (hyperlink network analysis and semantic network analysis) to understand the online practices.

Keywords: South Korea; computer-mediated communication; journalism; online community; strategic communication

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Communication,Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands 2: School of Advertising and Public Relations,Hongik University, JochiwonChungnam339-701, Republic of Korea 3: WCU Webometrics Institute,Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan, Republic of Korea

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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