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We begin by defining what constitutes a social network site and then present one perspective on the historical development of SNSs, drawing from personal interviews and public accounts of sites and their changes over time.Following this, we review recent scholarship on SNSs and attempt to contextualize and highlight key works.The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.
What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks.
Structural variations around visibility and access are one of the primary ways that SNSs differentiate themselves from each other.
After joining a social network site, users are prompted to identify others in the system with whom they have a relationship.
The profile is generated using the answers to these questions, which typically include descriptors such as age, location, interests, and an “about me” section.
Most sites also encourage users to upload a profile photo.
By collecting these articles in this issue, our goal is to showcase some of the interdisciplinary scholarship around these sites.