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SNS: Definition, History, & Scholarship

Since Chvonne will have presented some background on danah boyd, I’ll focus on Nicole Ellison in this entry. Ellison is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. He primary interest is how new information and  technologies shape social processes. She has published extensively and you can see an incomplete list of those works on her research page. Ellison has a blog and she also recently won a grant to study the role of social network sites in facilitating collaborative processes.

Ellison and boyd define social network sites as “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 whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system” (211). The authors choose the term “network” over “networking” because they choose to place emphasis on the network itself as opposed to the ability to meet strangers. According to boyd and Ellison, the rise of social network sites reflect a shift in the organization of online communities. Rather than communities organized along topical hierarchies, social networks are orgnized on personal or “egocentric” networks.

In their historical review of the development of social network sites, the authors note a few key observations:

  1. Research suggests SNS tend to support pre-existing social networks.
  2. There is sometimes a disconnect between privacy concerns and actual online behavior with participants expressing varying levels of trust for different sites.

[NOTE: This summary/post is incomplete.]


One Response to “SNS: Definition, History, & Scholarship”

  1. Currently it looks like WordPress is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

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