B.3 The Interplay between Social and Economic Capital—New Insights from Social Media Networks

- Michael Weiler -

The proliferation and increasing usage of social media networks (SMNs) and the therewith-affiliated availability of vast amounts of digital footprint data allows the examination of the emergence of social capital as well as the influence of it on dependent variables such as economic outcomes.

In the subarea B.3. the research focus primarily revolves around the concept social capital, which broadly speaking refers to the resources that can be obtained from the membership in social networks. In particular, we first conducted a literature review to see how the concept has been operationalized in top-ranked business and sociological journals. Based on these findings, we took a unique approach to examine the convergent validity of a social capital metric, node degree, measured with self-reported contact diary and digital footprint data. After controlling for different potential influential factors and their interactions, the results reveal that both social capital indicators relate significantly. This suggests that digital footprint data can facilitate the measurement of the concept, but the association between the two metrics of the concept is ambiguous and more complex than previously anticipated. Finally, we conducted a field experiment among freelancers in a work-related SMN. The aim of this study is to promote our understanding on the accumulation of social capital and to examine whether the usage of (work-related) SMNs generates a measureable benefit in terms of economic capital.