Bonding, bridging, and linking social capital and social media use: How hyperlocal social media platforms serve as a conduit to access and activate bridging and linking ties in a time of crisis
Social media is changing the narrative during crisis events. It has facilitated citizen-led emergency dispatch and rescue, information sharing and communication between loved ones in the moments before, during and after a disaster. Researchers of social capital have found that bonding, bridging, and linking social capital can lead to resilient outcomes. With increased use of social media on a day-to-day basis and during a crisis, we still know little about the association between social capital and online social media use. Controlling for demographic characteristics and earthquake intensity, I investigate the association bonding, bridging and linking social capital and hyperlocal social media use following the earthquake and its aftershocks. Using a quantitative cross-sectional longitudinal study across 121 Nextdoor online neighborhoods in California’s Napa Valley region across 42 days in August and September of 2014 (N = 3570), I find that bridging and linking social capital led to more online communication via Nextdoor. This finding comes with an important implication, namely, that social media can serve as a primary source of recourse for individuals and communities following a disaster. Social media platforms provide a conduit for accessing and activating bridging and linking ties that can expedite collective action in a time of need. Communities should consider policies that increase levels of social capital, well as social media platforms that can activate social ties when they are needed most.
Recommended Citation: Page-Tan, C. (2020). Bonding, bridging, and linking social capital and social media use: How hyperlocal social media platforms serve as a conduit to access and activate bridging and linking ties in a time of crisis. Natural Hazards, 1-22. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-020-04397-8