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Keywords:

  • face-to-face interactions;
  • loneliness;
  • social capital;
  • social networking sites;
  • user types

The rapid adoption of social networking sites (SNSs) raises important questions about the social implications of such usage. Drawing on unique longitudinal data, surveying a representative sample of Norwegian online users (N = 2,000, age 15–75 years) in 3 annual waves (2008, 2009, and 2010), this study found a significantly higher score among SNS users in comparison to nonusers in 3 out of 4 social capital dimensions: face-to-face interactions, number of acquaintances, and bridging capital. However, SNS-users, and in particular males, reported more loneliness than nonusers. Furthermore, cluster analyses identified 5 distinct types of SNS users: Sporadics, Lurkers, Socializers, Debaters, and Advanced. Results indicate that Socializers report higher levels of social capital compared to other user types.