Social Network Sites: Definition, history, and scholarship

Danah M. Boyd
Nicole B. Ellison


Social network sites (SNSs) are increasingly attracting the attention of academic and industry researchers intrigued by their affordances and reach. This special theme section of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication brings together scholarship on these emergent phenomena. In this introductory article, we describe features of SNSs and propose a comprehensive definition. We then present one perspective on the history of such sites, discussing key changes and developments. After briefly summarizing existing scholarship concerning SNSs, we discuss the articles in this special section and conclude with considerations for future research.


Teacher Self-disclosure, College Student Motivation, Affective Learning, Classroom Climate


Not Available

APA Citation

Boyd, D. M. & Ellison, N.B. (2008). "Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(1), 210-230.

About the Study

Links to Article
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Type of Research Critical or postmodern
Research Design Mixed methods
Intervention/Areas of Study Social media
Level of Analysis
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest
Student Sample Size
Citing Articles