boyd and Ellison, “Social Netowork Sites”

boyd, dana, & Ellison, Nicole B. “Social network sites: Definitions, history, and scholarship” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 13.1 Article 11

boyd and Ellison offer a definition of Social Network Sites (SNS): “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whome they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (211). The authors distinguish between a social network site, as they are describing, and a social networking site which would primarily seek to create and initiate new relationships among strangers. Social Network Sites are more geared to “enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks” (211). IN other words, SNS facilitaes conenctions among individuals who share some offline connections—the connections might be considered “latent ties” (Haythornthwaite, 2005). Users “are primiarly communicating with people who are already a part of their extended social network” (211).


Additional Readings:

Haythornthwaite, C. (2005). Social networks and Internet connectivity effects. Information, Communication, & Society, 8(2), 125–147.

Lampe, C., Ellison, N., & Steinfeld, C. (2007). A familiar Face(book): Profile elements as signals in an online social network. Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 435–444). New York: ACM Press


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