Social Network Sites: The Science of Building and Maintaining Online Communities, a Perspective from Actor-Network Theory

Social Network Sites: The Science of Building and Maintaining Online Communities, a Perspective from Actor-Network Theory

Nisrine Zammar (Université Haute Bretagne, Rennes 2, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1559-5.ch007
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Abstract

This article examines the role of actors in a Social Network Sites and also the triggers and challenges they represent to social networking between today’s communities and businesses. A Social Network Sites is the product of the evolution of social liaisons and the emergence of online communities of people who are interested in exploring the concerns and activities of others. A social network is the assembly of direct or indirect contacts; a network is the product of interactions with the actors (individuals, families, enterprises, etc.) enabled by means of the structural design of web 2.0. Social Network Sites bring people together to interact through chat rooms, and share personal information and ideas around any topics via personal homepage publishing tools. This article is intended to be a trigger to deeply and more intensely explore potential roles of actor-network theory in the Social Network Sites context, in today’s and tomorrow’s world.
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Historical Overview

Etymologically, a network is a net; a tissue or an interlacement of threads. The word’s genealogical illustrations show that this original reference persisted till this very day, but it is “what you can do with the network threads is what has changed with time; corps-cosmos, nature and planet, society and organization” (Musso, 2003). From the beginning to the end of the 17th century the term “Network” was used within the context of the language of medicine. At that time the word “Network” did not refer in any case to communication.

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