The Internet is a medium with great consequences for social and economic life. This book is written to help people discern in what ways it has commanded the public imagination, and the methodological issues that arise when one tries to study and understand the social processes occurring within it. The contributors offer original responses in the search for, and critique of, methods with which to study the Internet and the social, political, economic, artistic, and communicative phenomena occurring within and around it.

Studying On-Line Social Networks

Studying on-line social networks

The Social Network Approach

When a computer network connects people or organizations, it is a social network. Just as a computer network is a set of machines connected by a set of cables, a social network is a set of people (or organizations or other social entities) connected by a set of social relations, such as friendship, co-working, or information exchange. Much research into how people use computer-mediated communication (CMC) has concentrated on how individual users interface with their computers, how two persons interact on-line, or how small groups function on-line. As widespread communication via computer networks develops, analysts need to go beyond studying single users, two-person ties, and small groups to examining the computer-supported social networks (CSSNs) ...

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