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Personal Ties, Group Ties and Latent Ties

Connecting Network Size to Diversity and Trust in the Mobile Social Network WeChat by Cuihua (Cindy) Shen

This study examines whether and how network size is associated with diversity and trust in the mobile SNS context. Online survey data (N = 327) on Chinese WeChat users reveal that both personal network size and extended network size are positively related to the diversity of people’s social networks. We believe the explanation for these findings may be that the affordances of WeChat provide users opportunities to accumulate a wide spectrum of relations ranging from strong ties, weak ties to latent ties and thus a larger network can enable them to access to more diverse resources. We also find that extended network size is negatively related to people’s trust in their WeChat contacts. We argue that the increasing size of the extended network may reduce familiarity, certainty and accountability that assumed to be prerequisites of trust.