This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Cities, Networks, and Urban Policy.
This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.
A global community or a global waste of time? Content analysis of the Facebook site “Humans of New York”, by Elena Vesselinov, Sebastián F. Villamizar-Santamaría, Charles J. Gomez & Eva M. Fernández
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This paper explores how stories of everyday experiences in urban settings from around the world foster and sustain a community that seemingly transcends national borders. Given that both urban and online experiences are increasingly prevalent in modern life, surprisingly little attention is paid to how these experiences might foster a sense of community in an online setting. We use Facebook’s Humans of New York (HONY) site, analyzing over 130,000 text comments, to explore this question. We apply content analysis and text mining techniques, using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software and multidimensional scaling (MDS) to visualize their latent patterns. Integrating Chayko’s theoretical model of “portable communities,” we find evidence suggesting the existence of a shared social context, of positive interaction, empathy, and support, irrespective of national boundaries.