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Societies 2014, 4(4), 753-769; doi:10.3390/soc4040753

The Best of Both Worlds? Online Ties and the Alternating Use of Social Network Sites in the Context of Migration

School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU, UK
Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 29 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 December 2014 / Published: 11 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Social Capital)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [178 KB, uploaded 11 December 2014]


While an ever-growing body of research is concerned with user behavior on individual social network sites (SNSs)—mostly Facebook—studies addressing an alternating use of two or more SNS are rare. Here, we investigate the relationship between alternating SNS use and social capital in the context of migration. Alternating SNS use avoids some of the problems associated with large networks located on one site; in particular the management of different social or cultural spheres. Not only does this strategy hold potential for increased social capital, it also provides a particular incentive for migrants faced with the challenge of staying in touch with back home and managing a new social environment. Two survey studies are presented that focus on the relationship between alternating SNS use and online ties in a migrant context involving Indian nationals. Study 1 looked at migration within India, whereas Study 2 compared international with domestic SNS users. In both studies, alternating SNS use added to the prediction of online network size and accounted for differences in network size found for migrant and non-migrant users. Differences were due to the number of peripheral ties, rather than core ties. Findings suggest that alternating SNS use may constitute a compensatory strategy that helps to overcome lower levels of socializing represented through a single SNS. View Full-Text
Keywords: Orkut; migration; alternating SNS use; online network; online network size Orkut; migration; alternating SNS use; online network; online network size
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Binder, J.F.; Sutcliffe, A.G. The Best of Both Worlds? Online Ties and the Alternating Use of Social Network Sites in the Context of Migration. Societies 2014, 4, 753-769.

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