Role of Social Networking Sites

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Date Submitted: 03/31/2013 04:54 AM

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Definition/Explanation of Terms

Scholars and researchers often interchange the terms ―social network site‖ and ―social networking sites.‖ In this study, similar to the boyd and Ellison (2008) study, the researcher chose to use the term ―social network site,‖ as it fits more appropriately to this project. The terms ―social networking site‖ and ―social networking‖ were not incorporated into this study, unless quoted from other studies, due to the nature of their definitions. Networking often implies ―relationship initiation‖ between strangers, which is not the main practice of Facebook (boyd & Ellison, 2008, p. 211). Facebook users generally know their online friends offline and use the site to communicate and share 14

information with them. Facebook is often used to sustain offline relationships as opposed to connecting with new people (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). Furthermore, the Pew Internet and American Life Project stated that 91% of U.S. teenagers who partake in online social networking connect with friends they either see a lot or rarely see in person (Lenhart & Madden, 2007). Therefore, the term ―networking‖ is not used in the present study, instead, the term ―network‖ is used.

Social network site(s): ―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. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site‖ (boyd & Ellison, 2008, p. 211).

Online social network: A Web-based network that allows users to connect, communicate, and share information with friends, acquaintances, and, in some cases, strangers.

Facebook: ―A social utility that connects people, to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos.‖ (, 2010). Facebook is a social network service connecting friends,...