This study investigates how an innovative technology, social networking, can be used in the process of building and maintaining social capital and exchanging knowledge in an educational setting. We employ a qualitative methodology, autoethnography, to examine how social networking can help students learn from other classmates and professors, exchange knowledge, and adjust both to a new program of study and to living in the United States. Using the theoretical foundation of social capital (Jacobs, 1960) and a social support framework created by Drentea and Moren-Cross (2005), autobiographical narratives are classified as instrumental support, emotional support, and community building. Our findings provide evidence that social networking sites can enhance social capital through these mechanisms in a doctoral education context, and our research serves as an important first step in addressing a gap in educational and cultural adaptation studies using social networking tools.
Magro, Michael J.; Ryan, Sherry D.; Sharp, Jason H.; and Ryan, Katie A., "Using Social Networking for Educational and Cultural Adaptation: An Exploratory Study" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 528.