Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 5, 2021

Neighborhood hotspot and community awareness: The double role of social network sites in local communities

Jonas De Meulenaere EMAIL logo , Bastiaan Baccarne , Cédric Courtois and Koen Ponnet
From the journal Communications

Abstract

There is a tendency in the literature on local digital media use and neighborhood outcomes to conceptualize Social Network Sites (SNSs) as mere transmission channels, thereby ignoring SNSs’ dynamics and limiting the understanding of their role in neighborhood life. Informed by Communication Infrastructure Theory and social media literature, we propose and test a model to investigate the association between the use of SNSs, appropriated as online neighborhood networks, and neighborhood sense of community. We administered a survey to Flemish online neighborhood network users (n = 590) and found that active localized SNS use brings about an online sense of community and community awareness, which both independently lead to a neighborhood sense of community. Based on these findings, we argue that SNSs, appropriated as online neighborhood networks, function simultaneously as neighborhood hotspots in a neighborhood’s communication action context as well as community awareness media in a neighborhood’s storytelling network.

References

Amichai‐Hamburger, Y., & McKenna, K. Y. A. (2006). The Contact Hypothesis reconsidered: Interacting via the internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(3), 825–843. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00037.x10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00037.xSearch in Google Scholar

Anderson, B. R. O. (2006). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (rev. ed). New York, NY: Verso.Search in Google Scholar

Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Kim, Y.-C., & Matei, S. (2001). Storytelling neighborhood paths to belonging in diverse urban environments. Communication Research, 28(4), 392–428. https://doi.org/10.1177/00936500102800400310.1177/009365001028004003Search in Google Scholar

Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238–246. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.107.2.23810.1037/0033-2909.107.2.238Search in Google Scholar

Bouko, C. G., & Calabrese, L. (2017). « T’es un vrai … si … »: Quand les seniors aiment leur ville au sein de groupes Facebook [“You are a true … if …”: When elderly love their town in online Facebook groups]. Canadian Journal of Communication, 42(2), 311–330. https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc2017v42n2a317710.22230/cjc.2017v42n2a3177Search in Google Scholar

boyd, d. m. (2011). Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and implications. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites (pp. 39–58). New York, NY: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.Search in Google Scholar

Buckner, J. C. (1988). The development of an instrument to measure neighborhood cohesion. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16(6), 771–791. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF0093089210.1007/BF00930892Search in Google Scholar

Burgess, E. R., Walter, N., Ball-Rokeach, S. J., & Murphy, S. T. (2019). Communication hotspots: How infrastructure shapes people’s health. Health Communication, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2019.169249010.1080/10410236.2019.1692490Search in Google Scholar

Burke, M., & Kraut, R. E. (2014). Growing closer on Facebook: Changes in tie strength through social network site use. Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 4187–4196. https://doi.org/10.1145/2556288.255709410.1145/2556288.2557094Search in Google Scholar

Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.10.4324/9781410600219Search in Google Scholar

Capece, G., & Costa, R. (2013). The new neighbourhood in the internet era: Network communities serving local communities. Behaviour & Information Technology, 32(5), 438–448. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2011.61082510.1080/0144929X.2011.610825Search in Google Scholar

Chen, N.-T. N., Dong, F., Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Parks, M., & Huang, J. (2012). Building a new media platform for local storytelling and civic engagement in ethnically diverse neighborhoods. New Media & Society, 14(6), 931–950. https://doi.org/10.1177/146144481143564010.1177/1461444811435640Search in Google Scholar

Cifuentes, M., Boyer, J., Gore, R., d’Errico, A., Scollin, P., Tessler, J., …, Slatin, C. (2008). Job strain predicts survey response in healthcare industry workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 51(4), 281–289. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.2056110.1002/ajim.20561Search in Google Scholar

Demarest, S., Van der Heyden, J., Charafeddine, R., Tafforeau, J., Van Oyen, H., & Van Hal, G. (2013). Socio-economic differences in participation of households in a Belgian national health survey. The European Journal of Public Health, 23(6), 981–985. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cks15810.1093/eurpub/cks158Search in Google Scholar

Driskell, R. B., & Lyon, L. (2002). Are virtual communities true communities? Examining the environments and elements of community. City & Community, 1(4), 373–390. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-6040.0003110.1111/1540-6040.00031Search in Google Scholar

Georgiou, M., Motta, W., & Livingstone, S. (2016). Community through digital connectivity? Communication infrastructure in multicultural London. Final report. London School of Economics. Retrieved August 30, 2017 from http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/pdf/Comm-Infrastructure-Final-Report.pdf.Search in Google Scholar

Gregory, J. (2015). Connecting with the past through social media: The ‘Beautiful buildings and cool places Perth has lost’ Facebook group. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 21(1), 22–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2014.88401510.1080/13527258.2014.884015Search in Google Scholar

Guest, A. M., & Wierzbicki, S. K. (1999). Social ties at the neighborhood level: Two decades of GSS evidence. Urban Affairs Review, 35(1), 92–111. https://doi.org/10.1177/1078087992218430110.1177/10780879922184301Search in Google Scholar

Gulyas, A., O’Hara, S., & Eilenberg, J. (2019). Experiencing local news online: Audience practices and perceptions. Journalism Studies, 20(13), 1846–1863. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2018.153934510.1080/1461670X.2018.1539345Search in Google Scholar

Hampton, K. N. (2007). Neighborhoods in the network society: The e-neighbors study. Information, Communication & Society, 10(5), 714–748. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118070165806110.1080/13691180701658061Search in Google Scholar

Hampton, K. N. (2016). Persistent and pervasive community new communication technologies and the future of community. American Behavioral Scientist, 60(1), 101–124. https://doi.org/10.1177/000276421560171410.1177/0002764215601714Search in Google Scholar

Hampton, K., & Wellman, B. (2003). Neighboring in Netville: How the internet supports community and social capital in a wired suburb. City and Community, 2(4), 277–311.10.1046/j.1535-6841.2003.00057.xSearch in Google Scholar

Han, K., Shih, P. C., & Carroll, J. M. (2014). Local news chatter: Augmenting community news by aggregating hyperlocal microblog content in a tag cloud. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 30(12), 1003–1014. https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2014.92577310.1080/10447318.2014.925773Search in Google Scholar

Hardyns, W., Vyncke, V., Pauwels, L., & Willems, S. (2015). Study protocol: SWING – social capital and well-being in neighborhoods in Ghent. International Journal for Equity in Health, 14(36), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-015-0163-110.1186/s12939-015-0163-1Search in Google Scholar

Hayden, C., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2007). Maintaining the digital hub: Locating the community technology center in a communication infrastructure. New Media & Society, 9(2), 235–257. cms.10.1177/1461444807075002Search in Google Scholar

Heck, R. H., & Thomas, S. L. (2015). An introduction to multilevel modeling techniques: MLM and SEM approaches using Mplus (3rd edition). New York, NY: Routledge.10.4324/9781315746494Search in Google Scholar

Hermida, A. (2010). Twittering the news. Journalism Practice, 4(3), 297–308. https://doi.org/10.1080/1751278100364070310.1080/17512781003640703Search in Google Scholar

Hsu, C.-L., & Liao, Y.-C. (2014). Exploring the linkages between perceived information accessibility and microblog stickiness: The moderating role of a sense of community. Information & Management, 51(7), 833–844. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.im.2014.08.00510.1016/j.im.2014.08.005Search in Google Scholar

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/1070551990954011810.1080/10705519909540118Search in Google Scholar

Kavanaugh, A., Carroll, J. M., Rosson, M. B., Zin, T. T., & Reese, D. D. (2005). Community networks: Where offline communities meet online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(4).10.1111/j.1083-6101.2005.tb00266.xSearch in Google Scholar

Khazaee-Pool, M., Majlessi, F., Montazeri, A., Pashaei, T., Gholami, A., & Ponnet, K. (2016). Development and psychometric testing of a new instrument to measure factors influencing women’s breast cancer prevention behaviors (ASSISTS). BMC Women’s Health, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-016-0318-210.1186/s12905-016-0318-2Search in Google Scholar

Kim, Y.-C., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2006a). Civic engagement from a communication infrastructure perspective. Communication Theory, 16(2), 173–197. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2006.00267.x10.1111/j.1468-2885.2006.00267.xSearch in Google Scholar

Kim, Y.-C., & Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2006b). Community storytelling network, neighborhood context, and civic engagement: A multilevel approach. Human Communication Research, 32(4), 411–439. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2006.00282.x10.1111/j.1468-2958.2006.00282.xSearch in Google Scholar

Kim, Y.-C., Shin, E., Cho, A., Jung, E., Shon, K., & Shim, H. (2015). SNS dependency and community engagement in urban neighborhoods. The moderating role of integrated connectedness to a community storytelling network. Communication Research, 46(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365021558878610.1177/0093650215588786Search in Google Scholar

Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford publications.Search in Google Scholar

Konsti-Laakso, S. (2017). Stolen snow shovels and good ideas: The search for and generation of local knowledge in the social media community. Government Information Quarterly, 34(1), 134–139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2016.10.00210.1016/j.giq.2016.10.002Search in Google Scholar

Lawler, E. J., & Yoon, J. (1996). Commitment in exchange relations: Test of a theory of relational cohesion. American Sociological Review, 61(1), 89–108. JSTOR. https://doi.org/10.2307/209640810.2307/2096408Search in Google Scholar

Mamonov, S., Koufaris, M., & Benbunan-Fich, R. (2016). The role of the sense of community in the sustainability of social network sites. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 20(4), 470–498. https://doi.org/10.1080/10864415.2016.117197410.1080/10864415.2016.1171974Search in Google Scholar

Marwick, A. E., & boyd, d. (2014). Networked privacy: How teenagers negotiate context in social media. New Media & Society, 16(7), 1051–1067. https://doi.org/10.1177/146144481454399510.1177/1461444814543995Search in Google Scholar

Matei, S., & Ball-Rokeach, S. (2003). The internet in the communication infrastructure of urban residential communities: Macro- or mesolinkage? Journal of Communication, 53(4), 642–657.10.1111/j.1460-2466.2003.tb02915.xSearch in Google Scholar

McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6–23.10.1002/1520-6629(198601)14:1<6::AID-JCOP2290140103>3.0.CO;2-ISearch in Google Scholar

Miles, E., & Crisp, R. J. (2013). A meta-analytic test of the imagined contact hypothesis. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 17(1), 3–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/136843021351057310.1177/1368430213510573Search in Google Scholar

Mirowsky, J., & Ross, C. E. (1991). Eliminating defense and agreement bias from measures of the sense of control: A 2x2 index. Social Psychology Quarterly, 54(2), 127–145. https://doi.org/10.2307/278693110.2307/2786931Search in Google Scholar

Mollenhorst, G., Völker, B., & Schutjens, V. (2009). Neighbour relations in the Netherlands – a decade of evidence. Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 100(4), 549–558. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2009.00588.x10.1111/j.1467-9663.2009.00588.xSearch in Google Scholar

Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2017). Mplus user’s guide. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén. Retrieved August 22, 2017 from: http://www.statmodel.com/download/usersguide/MplusUserGuideVer_8.pdfSearch in Google Scholar

Nah, S., & Yamamoto, M. (2017). Civic technology and community building: Interaction effects between integrated connectedness to a storytelling network (ICSN) and internet and mobile uses on civic participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 22(4), 179–195. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.1218910.1111/jcc4.12189Search in Google Scholar

Nygren, G., Leckner, S., & Tenor, C. (2018). Hyperlocals and legacy media. Nordicom Review, 39(1), 33–49. https://doi.org/10.1515/nor-2017-041910.1515/nor-2017-0419Search in Google Scholar

Ognyanova, K., Chen, N.-T. N., Ball-Rokeach, S., An, Z., Son, M., Parks, M., & Gerson, D. (2013). Online participation in a community context: Civic engagement and connections to local communication resources. International Journal of Communication, 7, 2433–2456.Search in Google Scholar

Papacharissi, Z. (2015). Toward new journalism(s). Journalism Studies, 16(1), 27–40. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2014.89032810.1080/1461670X.2014.890328Search in Google Scholar

Papacharissi, Z., & de Fatima Oliveira, M. (2012). Affective news and networked publics: The rhythms of news storytelling on #Egypt. Journal of Communication, 62(2), 266–282. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01630.x10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01630.xSearch in Google Scholar

Ponnet, K. (2014). Financial stress, parent functioning and adolescent problem behavior: An actor–partner interdependence approach to family stress processes in low-, middle-, and high-income families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(10), 1752–1769. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-014-0159-y10.1007/s10964-014-0159-ySearch in Google Scholar

Prezza, M., Amici, M., Roberti, T., & Tedeschi, G. (2001). Sense of community referred to the whole town: Its relations with neighboring, loneliness, life satisfaction, and area of residence. Journal of Community Psychology, 29(1), 29–52. https://doi.org/10.1002/1520-6629(200101)29:1<29::AID-JCOP3>3.0.CO;2-C10.1002/1520-6629(200101)29:1<29::AID-JCOP3>3.0.CO;2-CSearch in Google Scholar

Ren, Y., Harper, F. M., Drenner, S., Terveen, L., Kiesler, S., Riedl, J., & Kraut, R. E. (2012). Building member attachment in online communities: Applying theories of group identity and interpersonal bonds. MIS Quarterly, 36(3), 841–864.10.2307/41703483Search in Google Scholar

Ren, Y., Kraut, R., & Kiesler, S. (2007). Applying common identity and bond theory to design of online communities. Organization Studies, 28(3), 377–408. https://doi.org/10.1177/017084060707600710.1177/0170840607076007Search in Google Scholar

Rufas, A., & Hine, C. (2018). Everyday connections between online and offline: Imagining others and constructing community through local online initiatives. New Media & Society, 20(10), 3879–3897. https://doi.org/10.1177/146144481876236410.1177/1461444818762364Search in Google Scholar

Sauro, J., & Lewis, J. R. (2011). When designing usability questionnaires, does it hurt to be positive? Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ‘11, 2215. https://doi.org/10.1145/1978942.197926610.1145/1978942.1979266Search in Google Scholar

Solís Salazar, M. (2015). The dilemma of combining positive and negative items in scales. Psicothema, 27(2), 192–199. https://doi.org/10.7334/psicothema2014.266Search in Google Scholar

Smith, G. (2008). Does gender influence online survey participation?: A record-linkage analysis of university faculty online survey response behavior. San Jose State University. Retrieved February 10, 2020 from https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/elementary_ed_pub/4/Search in Google Scholar

Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: An interval estimation approach. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25(2), 173–180. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327906mbr2502_410.1207/s15327906mbr2502_4Search in Google Scholar

Talò, C., Mannarini, T., & Rochira, A. (2014). Sense of community and community participation: A meta-analytic review. Social Indicators Research, 117(1), 1–28. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0347-210.1007/s11205-013-0347-2Search in Google Scholar

Tosoni, S., & Tarantino, M. (2013). Media territories and urban conflict: Exploring symbolic tactics and audience activities in the conflict over Paolo Sarpi, Milan. International Communication Gazette, 75(5–6), 573–594. https://doi.org/10.1177/174804851349191410.1177/1748048513491914Search in Google Scholar

Tucker, L. R., & Lewis, C. (1973). A reliability coefficient for maximum likelihood factor analysis. Psychometrika, 38(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF0229117010.1007/BF02291170Search in Google Scholar

Turner, J. (2015). Good dog, bad dog: Exploring audience uses and attitudes to hyperlocal community news media through the prism of banal pet stories. Anthropological Notebooks, 21(3), 39–50.Search in Google Scholar

Unger, D. G., & Wandersman, A. (1985). The importance of neighbors: The social, cognitive, and affective components of neighboring. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13(2), 139–169. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF0090572610.1007/BF00905726Search in Google Scholar

Vitak, J. (2014). Unpacking social media’s role in resource provision: Variations across relational and communicative properties. Societies, 4(4), 561–586. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc404056110.3390/soc4040561Search in Google Scholar

Wilkin, H. A., Ball-Rokeach, S. J., Matsaganis, M. D., & Cheong, P. H. (2007). Comparing the communication ecologies of geo-ethnic communities: How people stay on top of their community. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 17(1 & 2). Retrieved September 8, 2016 from http://www.cios.org/EJCPUBLIC/017/1/01711.HTML.Search in Google Scholar

Wilkin, H. A., Stringer, K. A., O’Quin, K., Montgomery, S. A., & Hunt, K. (2011). Using communication infrastructure theory to formulate a strategy to locate “hard-to-reach” research participants. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 39(2), 201–213. https://doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2011.55614010.1080/00909882.2011.556140Search in Google Scholar

Yamamoto, M. (2015). Assessing the role of local communication networks in neighborhood disorder and crime. Communication Research, 45(6), 887–908. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365021557065910.1177/0093650215570659Search in Google Scholar

Zhang, C., Motta, W., & Georgiou, M. (2018). The enacted communication action context of ethnically diverse neighbourhoods and its implications for intergroup communication. In Y.-C. Kim, M. Matsaganis, H. Wilkin, & J.-Y. Jung (Eds.), The communication ecology of 21st century urban communities. New York, NY: Peter Lang.Search in Google Scholar

Appendix – Used items and their descriptive statistics

Measure

Items

Mean

SD

Digital Neighborhood Storytelling – Shared Interests

DNS_SI1

I share information about my neighborhood with the online group.

3.05

1.83

DNS_SI2

When I see something online that I think the online group would find interesting, I’ll share it with them.

4.09

1.83

DNS_SI3

When I enjoyed something in the neighborhood (an event, a nice spot, a funny happening …), I share it with the online group.

3.76

1.83

Neighborhood sense of community

NSC1

I feel like I belong to this neighborhood.

4.87

1.37

NSC2

The friendships and associations I have with other people in my neighborhood mean a lot to me.

4.48

1.42

NSC3

If the people in my neighborhood were planning something, I’d think of it as something ‘we’ were doing rather than ‘they’ were doing.

4.04

1.54

NSC4

I think I agree with most people about what is important in life.

4.09

1.27

NSC5

I would be willing to work together with others on something to improve my neighborhood.

4.95

1.32

NSC6

Living in this neighborhood gives me a sense of community.

4.61

1.40

Community awareness

CA1

I am mostly aware of important events in my neighborhood.

4.91

1.30

CA2

I am mostly aware of local issues.

4.58

1.31

CA3

I feel familiar with the history of my neighborhood.

4.53

1.59

CA4

I have a pretty good idea about who lives in my neighborhood.

4.34

1.50

CA5

I have a good idea about the common opinions about local issues in my neighborhood.

4.37

1.33

CA6

I know what matters to the neighborhood residents.

4.22

1.33

Online sense of community

OSC1

I believe the time spent on the online group is worthwhile.

4.42

1.22

OSC2

I value the online group.

4.80

1.32

OSC3

What I want is similar to what the other members of this group want.

3.83

1.21

OSC4

I mostly agree with the opinions that circulate within this group.

3.91

1.25

Published Online: 2021-11-05
Published in Print: 2021-11-03

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 29.11.2022 from frontend.live.degruyter.dgbricks.com/document/doi/10.1515/commun-2019-0135/html
Scroll Up Arrow