Unpacking Social Media’s Role in Resource Provision: Variations across Relational and Communicative Properties
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New information and communication technologies (ICTs) challenge existing beliefs regarding the exchange of social resources within a network. The present study examines individuals’ perceived access to social, emotional, and instrumental resources by analyzing relational and Facebook-specific characteristics of dyadic relationships. Results suggest that the social and technical affordances of the site—including visibility of content and connections, as well as streamlined processes for interacting with a large audience—may augment existing perceptions of resource access for some ties while providing a major (or sole) outlet to interact and exchange resources with others. Specifically, weaker ties appear to benefit more than strong ties from engagement in directed communication and relationship maintenance strategies, while additional variations were observed across relationship category, dyad composition, and geographic proximity. In summary, these findings provide new evidence for how positive relational gains may be derived from site use.