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Who Likes to Be Reachable? Availability Preferences, Tie Strength, and Perceptions of Social Capital

Fri, May 26, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 2, Indigo Ballroom A


In this paper, we investigate how individual differences in availability preferences are related to (1) quality of interaction with strong and weak ties and (2) potential changes in the perception of social capital. We employed experience sampling methods (ESM) and collected data over the course of two weeks from a random sample of college students (N = 154), combined with surveys at baseline and endpoint. We show that individuals who prefer to be more available report more rewarding interactions with weak ties. Furthermore, we demonstrate how the quality of weak tie interactions mediates the relationship between availability preferences and changes in social capital. We conclude by discussing the interrelationships between availability, interaction quality, and social capital. We propose availability preferences as an individual differences construct that should be considered in future research.


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