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Somewhat Separate and Unequal: Digital Divides, Social Networking Sites, and Capital-Enhancing Activities

  • Author(s): Pearce, Katy E
  • Rice, Ronald E
  • et al.
Abstract

As Internet use grows globally, the digital divide has shifted beyond concerns about access and adoption to more subtle questions of skill, usage, and capital, and to new venues such as social networking sites (SNSs). Do digital divides persist across adoption/non-adoption of SNSs, across different SNSs, and across different capital-enhancing activities used on those SNSs? The current study analyzes a context where social ties are more salient for resource access due to untrustworthy institutions, and large gaps exist between elites and non-elites. Demographic divides characterize the 31% of Armenian adults using two major SNSs in 2013: Facebook and Odnoklassniki. Facebook is used more for getting information, while Odnoklassniki more for gaming. However, the divides in SNS usage are much greater than in activity use, with implications for capital enhancement and stratification.

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