Studying online social networks

Laura Garton, Caroline Haythornthwaite, Barry Wellman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

506 Scopus citations

Abstract

When a computer network connects people or organizations, it is a social network. Yet the study of such computer-supported social networks has not received as much attention as studies of human-computer interaction, online person-to-person interaction, and computer-supported communication within small groups. We argue the usefulness of a social network approach for the study of computer-mediated communication. We review some basic concepts of social network analysis, describe how to collect and analyze social network data, and demonstrate where social network data can be, and have been, used to study computer-mediated communication. Throughout, we show the utility of the social network approach for studying computer-mediated communication, be it in computer-supported cooperative work, in virtual community, or in more diffuse interactions over less bounded systems such as the Internet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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