The research questions to be answered in this paper include: How do different types of digital poverty combine in real social individuals? What kind of concrete function forms does the social network have for reducing the different levels of digital poverty in the practice? For whom among the digital poor is the social network as fuel in the snowy weather? And for whom is the social network as icing on the cake?
By employing content analysis, the paper digs deeply into the case data of one hundred and seventeen digital poor individuals and forty seven non digital poor persons collected from rural field research in six provinces and municipalities in China. I assess their eight values of digital poverty, including digital material entities, digital services, digital psychology, digital capabilities, digital efforts, digital social support, digital social norms and digital social impacts, and describe the degrees and types of digital poverty in the cases involved. It is also purposive to find out the relationship between different types of social networks, especially strong ties and weak ties, and digital help seeking behaviors of individuals with different digital poverty types in reality.
The study argues that social networks have no significant effect on reducing the digital poverty degree of the digitally extremely poor. The greater the degree of compounding of digitalized poverty faced by individuals, that is, the more types of digitalized poverty are superimposed on individuals, the less effective support they get from social networks. The smaller the degree of digital composite poverty faced by individuals, that is, the less the digital poverty types overlap, the more likely they are to obtain effective social network support. Digital poor individuals with superimposition of poor conditions in digital psychology (i.e. the vulnerable poor ) and digital capabilities (i.e. the digital illiterate), who are not materially poor, have significant reliance on strong tie in social network in the process of poverty eradication. Digital poor individuals based on insufficient digital social support, single or dual in poverty, have a certain degree of dependence on strong and weak ties. It is difficult for the double digital poor on the basis of inadequate digital social support and social norms to win the support of strong or weak ties. Strong ties have had a significant impact on the process of eradicating poverty among those who are at least vain seekers. Weak ties play a significant role only in digital poverty alleviation among the socially lonely, and no effect on other types of digital poverty. 1 fig. 3 tabs. 20 refs.