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Journal cover: Library Review

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Online from: 1927

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Sociability and social interaction on social networking websites

Document Information:
Title:Sociability and social interaction on social networking websites
Author(s):Andrew Keenan, (School of Library and Information Studies and Humanities Computing Program, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada), Ali Shiri, (School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Citation:Andrew Keenan, Ali Shiri, (2009) "Sociability and social interaction on social networking websites", Library Review, Vol. 58 Iss: 6, pp.438 - 450
Keywords:Communication technologies, Internet, Social interaction, Social networks
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00242530910969794 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – Social websites have become a major medium for social interaction. From Facebook to MySpace to emergent sites like Twitter, social websites are increasing exponentially in user numbers and unique visits every day. How do these websites encourage sociability? What features or design practices enable users to socialize with other users? The purpose of this paper is to explore sociability on the social web and details how different social websites encourage their users to interact.

Design/methodology/approach – Four social websites (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter) were examined from a user study perspective. After thoroughly participating on the websites, a series of observations were recorded from each experience. These experiences were then compared to understand the different approaches of each website.

Findings – Social websites use a number of different approaches to encourage sociability amongst their users. Facebook promotes privacy and representing “real world” networks in web environment, while MySpace promotes publicity and representing both real world and virtual networks in a web environment. Niche websites like LinkedIn and Twitter focus on more specific aspects of community and technology, respectively.

Originality/value – A comparison of different models of sociability does not yet exist. This study focuses specifically on what makes social websites “social.”

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