A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences

Perspectives on Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.89). 01/2012; 7(3):203-220. DOI: 10.1177/1745691612442904

ABSTRACT With over 800 million active users, Facebook is changing the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another and share information. A rapidly growing body of research has accompanied the meteoric rise of Facebook as social scientists assess the impact of Facebook on social life. In addition, researchers have recognized the utility of Facebook as a novel tool to observe behavior in a naturalistic setting, test hypotheses, and recruit participants. However, research on Facebook emanates from a wide variety of disciplines, with results being published in a broad range of journals and conference proceedings, making it difficult to keep track of various findings. And because Facebook is a relatively recent phenomenon, uncertainty still exists about the most effective ways to do Facebook research. To address these issues, the authors conducted a comprehensive literature search, identifying 412 relevant articles, which were sorted into 5 categories: descriptive analysis of users, motivations for using Facebook, identity presentation, the role of Facebook in social interactions, and privacy and information disclosure. The literature review serves as the foundation from which to assess current findings and offer recommendations to the field for future research on Facebook and online social networks more broadly.

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    ABSTRACT: As organizations become increasingly mediatized, the roles of professionals are reshaped and negoti-ated, and the boundaries between professional and private relationships are blurred. In this context, the extent to which one identifies with his or her organization might play an important role. This paper investigates how professionals construct their digital identities on social media sites, focusing in particular on their willingness to overlap private and work profiles to create a univocal online persona. Based on a sample of 679 communication and marketing managers, the paper analyzes the self-representational choices of professionals and demonstrates how organizational identification influences professionals' tendency to combine their domains under one online persona, and their confidence to use social media in a professional context.
    Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 09/2014; · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    Computers & Education. 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Every once in a while, performing an audit of our digital lives can prove an edu-cational experience. Like 1.11 billion other users worldwide, the chances are that you actively engage with Facebook on at least a monthly basis (Facebook, 2013). Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that this will be the only form of social media with which you engage; perhaps like 288 million others you are transfixed with tweeting (GlobalWebIndex, 2013), or just maybe you are akin to the 238 million users who proclaim their professional credentials on LinkedIn (LinkedIn, 2013). Further reflection may even reveal something about how you prefer to manage your multifaceted digital life. Perhaps you elect to seamlessly blend the personal and professional spheres of your social world on just a smat-tering of sites. Or could it be that you compartmentalize the different facets of your life across numerous platforms, each serving its own distinct purpose? One thing is for sure: a plethora of choice facilitates numerous strategies for how we might undertake the management of our digital identities. As an umbrella term used to encapsulate the online activities of social net-working, content sharing, blogging and microblogging (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), 'social media' adopts many guises; from the battle-hardened, consistently familiar feel of Facebook and the staid hues of LinkedIn, to the youthful, aes-thetic exuberance of Instagram and Pinterest. Although the well-documented demise of early social networking sites such as SixDegrees and Friendster (boyd and Ellison, 2007) serve as timely reminders that size of user-base is no guar-antee of longevity, the ever-expanding range of social media to have blossomed around the fertile grounds of Facebook should provide impetus for social sci-ence researchers to broaden their focus out beyond the world's largest social networking site (see Wilson, Gosling and Graham, 2012). As Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy and Silvestre (2011: 242) state, "there currently exists a rich and diverse ecology of social media sites, which vary in 6241-343.indb 217 2/14/2014 1:09:10 PM 218 t Carter, Martin and O'Malley terms of their scope and functionality. " The ecological metaphor employed here forms an important foundation upon which much of the following discussion is constructed. Although Kietzmann and colleagues do not appear to explicitly attribute a definitive provenance to the term, the biological imagery appears to have much in common with media ecology theory, that is, "the study of media as environments" (Postman, 1970: 161). Although it is not the intention to frame the proceeding discussion specifically within the parameters of the theory, it seems meritorious to embrace the general notion that different forms of social media can constitute distinctive digital environments; discreetly fitting together to provide the user with a range of outlets for use within a professional context. To paraphrase McLuhan (2003: 271), social media ecologies are about interacting with the sites in ways that are complementary, rather than cancel-ling each other out. A core aim of this chapter is to explore how employees within Higher Edu-cation Institutions (HEI) draw on different elements of their social media ecologies to support their interactions with students, colleagues and profes-sional peers. HEIs are complex organizations, quite often with equally complex missions requiring the engagement of employees from across a distinct range of roles (Whitchurch, 2006). As reflected in a wider trend of organizations "going social" (Brown & Vaughn, 2011; KPMG, 2011), the increasing centrality of social media within the lives of the student population (Selwyn, 2009) provides a particularly compelling reason for Higher Education employees to take social media seriously, regardless of whether their role is primarily administrative or academic in focus. As the UK-based Joint Information Systems Commit-tee (JISC) Information Strategy Guidelines emphasize, information is the "lifeblood" of HEIs (Orna, 2004; Pollock, 2000). As a form of communication technology, social media appear to excel precisely in supporting this endeavor. Furthermore, in a digital society where reputation is becoming an increas-ingly prominent feature of the digital economy (Masum, Newmark, & Tovey, 2012), social media users employed within HEIs appear to be faced with an ongoing challenge of how to engage in authentic, open communication while attenuating the risk of reputational damage to either themselves or their employer. The following discussion draws on the qualitative findings of a case study to explore how employees of both administrative and academic roles within an HEI address this task while using Facebook and other elements of their social media ecologies to interact with students, colleagues and profes-sional peers outside of their institution.
    An Education in Facebook?: Higher Education and the World's Largest Social Network, Edited by Mike Kent, Tama Leaver, 05/2014: chapter Understanding the Social Media Ecologies of Employees Within Higher Education Institutions: A UK-Based Case Study: pages 217 - 225; Routledge., ISBN: 9781134676088


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May 28, 2014