Jeremy Littau

This research introduces a new measure of social capital for users of online news communities by applying social capital concepts used to measure networks in real-world communities.  “Web-network” social capital measures the strength of ties created online for the benefit of engagement that is non-local.  Using the concept of the “networked individual” as a theoretical tool, this research sampled users of news sites that offered online community forums for comment.  The results show that traditional social capital measures rooted in local community increase both local forms of engagement and engagement in causes that are more national than local.