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An Exploratory Study of Older Adultsʼ Social Media Use and Social Capital in Nigeria

Journal: Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications (Vol.3, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 149-166

Keywords : bonding; bridging; older adults Nigerians; social networking sites; social capital;

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This study focuses on the benefits of social network sites especially in terms of what older adults derive from their social relationships and interactions on these sites. Drawing on a sample of 336 older adults, ages 50 years and older working in 13 government ministries in Benue State, Nigeria, results show that Nigerians go online regularly using mostly their mobile phones and spend much of their time on social media platforms, on Facebook predominantly. These results suggest that some older Nigerian adults are relatively "heavy" social media users and social networking has become a daily part of life. But the benefits that older Nigerians derive from social relationships especially in terms of bonding and bridging social capital are doubtful. The study concludes that although older adults' interactions on SNS are seemingly constitutive of bonding and bridging the social capital but these are not predictive of substantive forms of capital exchanges typically associated with these forms of social capital such as helping others to solve problems including financial problems, sharing intimate personal problems or gains in form of useful information, personal relationships, or the capacity to align with groups and broaden world-views. Nonetheless, the internet and social media allow older Nigerians the opportunity to create and maintain larger, diffuse networks of relationships and also provide them with a range of benefits and opportunities to empower themselves in a variety of ways.

Last modified: 2017-03-20 19:37:32