With Internet access and use becoming nearly ubiquitous aspects of an individual’s experience of everyday life, sociologists must consider how the Internet is transforming an individual's experience of community. This study examines the connections between place-independent forms of social capital actuated online, place-dependent forms of social capital actuated face-to-face, and individuals' perceptions of community attachment and community satisfaction. Moving from a theoretical foundation to empirical evidence, I show the concepts of bonding and bridging social capital can and should be divided based upon the medium through which they are actuated. I then explore the effect of online and offline forms of bonding and bridging social capital on individuals' perceptions of community attachment and community satisfaction. Based on data from 52 communities in Montana, collected in 2012, the results indicate that a significant distinction exists between online and offline social capital and that online social capital is capable, to a limited degree, of ameliorating some of the consequences of geographic isolation, or distance, experienced by many residents of rural communities. The results also indicate that while online actuations of social capital are statistically and substantively important in explaining individuals' perceptions of community, offline actuations of social capital are associated with larger substantive impacts on individuals' perceptions of community attachment and community satisfaction, suggesting that while online social capital is an important part of how individuals experience community, face-to-face, or offline actuations of social capital are more important in determining how individuals perceive the geographically fixed communities in which they reside.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Braudt, David B., "Breaking Down Barriers of Space: Correlations and Connections between Online Social Capital, Offline Social Capital, Community Attachment, and Community Satisfaction" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 5239.