Social media has been identified as an important vehicle that fosters social connections which helps in promoting, maintaining and expanding the existing social relations. Ever since the world has been transformed into a globalized and digitalized village, people have started putting their faith on the world of social media, but the most important question rises, ‘Can people count on social media to bridge their communication gap?
There are various researches conducted on this specified topic and I have chosen Håkansson and Witmer's study for this particular topic.
The objective of this study is to explore the trust of people on social media and whether trust can be created by connections on digitalized social media or not.
This research study is modeled in accordance with the structured literature review model suggested by Kitchenham and Kitchenham et al. In order to identify relevant literature, Malmo Universities comprehensive search tool ‘Summon’ was used. Different searches were conducted by using the keywords as ‘“social media” “trust” “social trust” “internet’. This search was limited to the journals and some specified disciplines i.e. political science, social science, psychology and sociology. By this process, some of the articles were excluded, while some were being narrowed down by selecting studies using the "Title Method". Through this title method, the main question i.e. ‘can social media create trust’ was put forward, and this method gave 36 studies. After reading their abstracts, 20 more articles were being excluded and in total 16 papers relevant to the research question were read. Apart from it, Håkansson and Witmer were able to find eight articles which emphasized a positive relationship between social media and trust; two articles claimed no relationship between trust and social media.
After such extensive study, results were being sorted out in three categories which refer to the three hypotheses: Social media has a negative effect on trust, social media has a positive effect on trust or social media has no effect on trust.
There were no studies in which a negative relationship between social media and trust could be found. But it exists and is confirmed by the explanation that distrust is difficult to detect because it is a transient property in network relationships. On the contrary, most of the studies were found which promoted that social media has a positive effect on trust. Jodi Liss describes a situation where a group of landowners were to negotiate a natural gas deal with an energy company. In these deals trust is of essential importance. The landowners were in an information disadvantage towards the companies, but they also faced a problem of distrust between each other. The Internet and social media gave landowners access to useful information and facilitated their ability to communicate with each other more easily.
It is suggested that we need additional research on a more disaggregated level using other methods and data rather than just quantitative analysis on cross-sectional data.
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