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Open AccessArticle

Social Network Site Usage and Personal Relations of Migrants

by Elena Damian 1,*,† and Erik Van Ingen 2,†
1
Research Training Group SOCLIFE, University of Cologne, Richard-Strauss Street, No. 2, Cologne 50931, Germany
2
Department of Sociology, Tilburg University, Warandelaan 2, Tilburg 5000 LE, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Societies 2014, 4(4), 640-653; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc4040640
Received: 28 June 2014 / Revised: 19 September 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 13 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Social Capital)
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 social media; social networks; emotional disclosure; relationship quality; homophily
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Damian, E.; Van Ingen, E. Social Network Site Usage and Personal Relations of Migrants. Societies 2014, 4, 640-653.

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