Sustaining social capital online amidst social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic: web-based communities, their mitigating effects, and associated issues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

COVID-19 prompted the enforcement of strict social distancing measures in most parts of the world. These measures have serious implications for how people interact, socialise, and collaborate with one another. As social distancing contradicts the social nature of human beings, social connections are still maintained even at a distance. Various forms of modern communication technologies (e.g., online social networking sites, video conferencing tools) allow people to sustain their social capital, even during a pandemic. Therefore, it is argued that web-based communities are instrumental in tackling the psychological costs of social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, people's increasing dependence on advanced communication technologies during uncertain times are associated with several issues. COVID-19 is highlighting digital inequality, which makes it unthinkable for people in some parts of the world to proceed with their normal activities online. Moreover, increased use of these technologies has implications for people's online privacy and mental well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-52
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of web based communities
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Social distancing
  • Social capital
  • Online social networking sites
  • Video conferencing technologies
  • Web-based communities

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