Belonging to a community: forms of technological mediated belonging

Manuel José Damásio, Sara Henriques, Conceição Costa

Abstract


This paper introduces the concept of belonging and discusses it in the context of online social networking experience and community experience considering social capital and user’s activities as nuclear concepts to understand collective actions and social relationships mediated by online social media technologies. The paper presents an empirical approach based on the study of two local communities and analyses whether interactive social technologies are capable of allowing a greater social involvement and a higher production of social capital, social participation and sense of belonging, encouraging original forms of interaction and social cohesion within communities. The results indicate a positive relationship between the use of social media technology and the increase of social capital and sense of belonging, promoting a discussion about the relationship between virtual and face-to-face communication, the role and influence of social media technologies in communitarian social practices and the relevance of social capital theory within media studies.

Keywords


belonging, social capital, sense of belonging, social networks, community

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS000604