What can we learn about social network sites by studying Facebook? A call and recommendations for research on social network sites

Stephen A. Rains, Steven R. Brunner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

The substantial growth in research examining social network sites (SNSs) during recent years makes this an opportune time to reflect on the state of SNS scholarship. In this review, we consider what—in the form of specific brands—has been studied. A content-analysis of SNS research published in six interdisciplinary journals between 1997 and 2013 is first reported to better understand the degree to which studies published in these journals have examined various SNS brands (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Cyworld, Hyves). The results show that more than two-thirds of SNS studies were explicitly limited to a single brand and that Facebook was the brand examined in approximately 80% of these studies. Five implications of this trend are then discussed as potentially limiting what can be learned in aggregate from such a body of SNS scholarship. The review concludes with recommendations for future research on SNSs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-131
Number of pages18
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 17 2015

Keywords

  • Communication and information technology
  • computer-mediated communication
  • social network sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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