Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Whelan, E., R. Teigland, E. Vaast, and B. Butler
2013
July
Information Systems Journal
Interpreting Digital Enabled Social Networks
Published
()
Optional Fields
SOCIAL NETWORKS
23
6
471
474
While the study of social networks enjoys a long and rich tradition, particularly in the fields of sociology and anthropology, it has only recently grown in popularity among IS researchers interested in applying established social network theories to online environments.  Social network theory is built on the premise that social behavior cannot be fully understood without considering the underlying structure (i.e., the pattern of connections) of the network in which an actor is embedded.  While seminal studies have shown that social network structure explains why people make certain political voting choices (Lazarsfeld et al., 1948), adopt particular innovations (Rogers 1962), or get promoted faster than others (Burt 1992), the field has always struggled to validate its legitimacy due to data collection issues.  Due to the increasing availability of ‘trace data’, i.e., electronic records of who interacts with whom through digitally-enabled platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Second Life as well email, phone, and wiki communications, IS researchers are now being drawn to the social network tradition. The accessibility and sheer volume of trace datasets offers the potential for deep insights into the causes and results of social behavior that were previously not possible (Watts 2007).
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