What’s Different About Social Media Networks? A Framework and Research Agenda

MIS Quarterly, Forthcoming

69 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2013

See all articles by Gerald C. Kane

Gerald C. Kane

Boston College

Maryam Alavi

Emory University

Giuseppe (Joe) Labianca

University of Kentucky - Gatton College of Business and Economics

Steve Borgatti

University of Kentucky; LINKS Center

Date Written: March 1, 2012

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed the rapid proliferation and widespread adoption of a new class of information technologies, commonly known as social media. Researchers often rely on social network analysis (SNA) in attempting to understand these technologies, often without considering how the novel capabilities of social media platforms might affect the underlying theories of SNA, which were developed primarily through studies of offline social networks. This article outlines several key differences between traditional offline social networks and online social media networks by juxtaposing an established typology of social network research with a well-regarded definition of social media platforms that articulates four key features. The results show that at four major points of intersection, social media has considerable theoretical implications for SNA. In exploring these points of intersection, this study outlines a series of theoretically distinctive research questions for SNA in social media contexts. These points of intersection offer considerable opportunities for researchers to investigate the theoretical implications introduced by social media and lay the groundwork for a robust social media agenda potentially spanning multiple disciplines.

Keywords: Social media, social network analysis, theory, blog, wiki, networks, framework, research agenda, knowledge management

Suggested Citation

Kane, Gerald C. and Alavi, Maryam and Labianca, Giuseppe (Joe) and Borgatti, Steve, What’s Different About Social Media Networks? A Framework and Research Agenda (March 1, 2012). MIS Quarterly, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2239249

Gerald C. Kane (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.profkane.com

Maryam Alavi

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Giuseppe (Joe) Labianca

University of Kentucky - Gatton College of Business and Economics ( email )

550 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40506
United States

Steve Borgatti

University of Kentucky ( email )

550 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40506
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.analytictechcom/borgatti

LINKS Center ( email )

455P Gatton College of Business and Economics Bldg
Lexington, KY 40506-0034
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.linkscenter.org/

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