Theorizing Facebook
October 14, 2012 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Could you point me in the direction of interesting scholarly work being done on social networking sites, especially Facebook?

For example, work on how human subjectivity and social relations are being reshaped by social networking/social media. Or on the hegemonic and counter-hegemonic uses of social networking sites.

Could be from sociology, anthropology, communication studies, cultural studies.

I know this is a huge sprawling area, but any pointers to cool or influential theorists/papers would be great.
posted by dontjumplarry to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
danah boyd has been lurking in the corners of my social media consciousness since undergrad early last decade.
posted by carsonb at 7:12 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could always try starting at SSRN.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 7:13 PM on October 14, 2012

In addition to danah boyd, Mark Andrejevic, Howard Rheingold, S. Craig Watkins. This might also be a good starter: The Social Media Reader.
posted by Ms. Toad at 7:34 PM on October 14, 2012

De-Anonymizing Social Networks

We present a framework for analyzing privacy and anonymity in social networks and develop a new re-identification algorithm targeting anonymized social-network graphs. To demonstrate its effectiveness on real-world networks, we show that a third of the users who can be verified to have accounts on both Twitter, a popular microblogging service, and Flickr, an online photo-sharing site, can be re-identified in the anonymous Twitter graph with only a 12% error rate.

posted by benbenson at 8:10 PM on October 14, 2012

Going to disagree with Ms. Toad a little only in that The Social Media Reader is not specifically about social network sites, though there are a few relevant chapters. A better book for SNS work specifically is A Networked Self. You can then look up most of the authors in that book and find a lot more stuff, for example danah boyd as mentioned, also Nicole Ellison's work on SNSs and social capital, etc.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:36 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

danah boyd, Susan Herring, Rebecca Blood and Naomi Baron are scholars I would definitely start with (they each have a web page with a list of (often freely downloadable) publications. Also, that book DM linked to above, A Networked Self, it's great. Lastly, browse the following (online) journals for relevant article titles: Language @ Internet, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Computers in Human Behavior, The Power of Web Genre, Text and Talk, Communications and I'm sure I'm missing a few, but that's a good start.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:05 PM on October 14, 2012

You might be interested in the work of Fred Stutzman. His dissertation, which you can read online, looked at how college freshman used Facebook in their transition to college. He's got a bunch more recent stuff about social networks and especially Facebook. He's a PhD who teaches information science, and his work is definitely academic.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:30 PM on October 14, 2012

In linguistics, Ruth Page is doing some really interesting work, as is Jannis Androutsopoulos, although his focus is more on mass media than social media.

There's also a bunch of sociolinguistic/ethnographic work on MMOs like World of Warcraft, notably Lisa Newon.

Seconding Susan Herring; her work is fantastic.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 7:04 AM on October 15, 2012

Here is an undergraduate thesis from 1994 entitled Social Interaction within Virtual Environments. The paper isn't well organized nor does it have a clear position with regard to established thinking. It references what was in style at the time in the areas of postmodernism. Also, much of what is considered "interaction" is about text-based mediums such as USENET and email.
posted by uhom at 12:01 PM on October 15, 2012

Microsoft has a couple of researchers who focus on this sort of thing called the Social Media Collective
posted by vegetableagony at 5:57 PM on October 25, 2012

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