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Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship

For over a year now, Nicole Ellison and I have been working on putting together a special issue of JCMC on “Social Network Sites.” Not all of the pieces are live yet, so I’m going to wait until they are before highlighting them and encouraging you to go there. (But! If you want to get a taste, their abstracts are all up on the site as temporary holders.)

In the meantime, I wanted to announce that our introduction is live. So, go check out: Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship by danah boyd and Nicole Ellison. Many of you helped us put together the history section (thank you!) so now you can see the completed version. This piece contains four key sections:

  • a usable definition of “social network sites”
  • a history of some of the major shifts in the development of SNSs
  • a literature review of work done in this space
  • a description of the articles included in the special issue

Given all of the emergent work in this space, we hope that this article will help scholars, businessfolk, and curious individuals get a coherent picture of what’s happening in the space. Of course, as with all definitions, histories, and literature reviews, much is open to debate. We of course welcome your critique and look forward to the conversations that this piece might spark.

More soon on the rest of the special issue. Much appreciation goes out to JCMC and Susan Herring for letting us do this and helping us along the way. Likewise, I can’t say enough nice things about the AMAZING Nicole Ellison. She was the most rocking co-editor/co-author ever and I can’t believe how fortunate I was to get to work with her.