Social network site usage and personal relations of migrants

E. Damian, E.J. van Ingen

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Abstract

In this study, we examine the relation between social network site (SNS) usage and the personal networks of immigrants, using a unique dataset composed of a representative sample of immigrants living in the Netherlands. In theory, SNSs can be a helpful tool for immigrants, because they may help establish social ties in the destination country and help maintain ties with people in the country of origin. We examine whether this is also true in practice by analyzing whether the frequency of using two SNSs—Facebook and Hyves (a Dutch SNS)—is associated with the number of ingroup and outgroup ties, as well as the quality of social relations. In addition, we test whether general emotional disclosure boosts the effect of SNS usage on the quality of relationships. We find that SNS usage is associated with more outgroup ties, but not with more ingroup ties. Our analyses also show that SNS usage is associated with greater quality social relationships among migrants. Contrary to our expectations, we found no interaction between general emotional disclosure and SNS usage on satisfaction with social relations. The implications of these findings are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: social media; social networks; emotional disclosure; relationship quality; homophily
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640–653
JournalSocieties
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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