Full Text

Online social networking

Lyn Gorman

Subject Communication and Media Studies
Sociology » Sociology of Culture and Media

Period 2000 - present

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Online social networking is a phenomenon of the first decade of the twenty-first century. It refers to the use of social network sites (SNSs) – such as MySpace and Facebook – for online communication and the establishment and extension of friendships and personal networks. SNSs are defined 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.” These sites share properties of persistence, searchability, replicability, and invisible audiences ( boyd & Ellison 2007 ; boyd 2007 ). (Researchers differ over what counts as a social network site in the dynamic web environment. The following focuses on what are most commonly acknowledged as SNSs. It does not include photo and video sharing sites [such as Flickr and YouTube], virtual worlds [Second Life], microblogging [Twitter], social bookmarking [del.icio.us], or aggregating services [FriendFeed].) SNSs are among the features that characterize Web 2.0; others are blogs, wikis, podcasts, and vodcasts. While there is debate about the extent to which the World Wide Web has entered its second generation in technical terms, there is general agreement that there is now greater interactivity, user participation, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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