Abstract

Social media platforms enable individuals to accumulate greater numbers of network contacts than normally possible with in-person network connections (Easley & Kleinberg, 2010), blur the line between strong and weak ties (Gilbert & Karahalios, 2009), exert influence on entrepreneurial cognitions (Fischer & Reuber, 2011), and alter the way entrepreneurs utilize network relationships. Since network ties are created and severed as needed (Granovetter, 1985; Kossinets & Watts, 2006), it is worth examining the role of online network connections in supplying social capital in the form of resources and support services to the entrepreneur at different stages of the venture creation process. In this paper, we draw on social capital theory to examine an entrepreneur’s use of online social network ties throughout the venture creation process. More specifically, we examine the nature of social capital derived from varying degrees of network ties, and assess the resources obtained by entrepreneurs from network contacts during the process of new venture creation. We also examine the influence of an entrepreneur’s perceived networking ability on the resources gained due to social capital derived from network ties.

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