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Research Tracks 2008


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13. Social Networking and Information




Track Chairs:


Ben Light, University of Salford, UK ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Remko Helms, Utrecht University, Netherlands ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )


Track Description:


During the last decade, knowledge has become a key consideration in our economies and it is heavily associated with innovation. Alongside this, social networks and notions of community have arguably come to play a central role. Of course, social networking has always occurred and as technologies have evolved they have become intertwined with social interactions (consider the telephone, email and early online communities such as GeoCities for example). However, the emergence of more sophisticated information and communication technologies has seen a corresponding change in how and why social networking is undertaken. Social networking communities have been established for a diverse range purposes including: professional support networking (; e-dating (; multimedia sharing (; friendship/blogging purposes (; virtual gaming ( and the participation in virtual worlds ( The technologies to support such social networking are similarly diverse, ranging from the standard desktop computer, mobile and ubiquitous technologies and even to immersive virtual environments and other applications and services.


Social networks can also be found within organisations (communities of practice, knowledge portals) and between organisations (electronic marketplaces such as Covisint, Exostar and Sabre, network organisations). Moreover, it is becoming clear that application and use of social networks in organisations can have an impact on organisational effectiveness and efficiency. Although many employees use social networking technologies in their private lives, those in organisations still have to learn and find out how they can successfully apply social networking technologies. Successful application of social networks and social networking technologies might require changes to the way organisations are structured and managed.


In sum, with the study of these developments we obtain insight into the affordances of public and private networks. This track wishes to explore issues relating to the development and use of social networking communities, how and why participants are drawn to them, what constitutes a successful network and any associated dangers. We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers that employ diverse methodologies and philosophical perspectives.


Suggested topics:


- Development/appropriation/co-production of social networking communities and technologies
- Power, politics and trust in social networks
- Issues of social inclusion and exclusion in social networking
- Diversity in social networking community characteristics – e.g. Work Organisation/Society, Gender, Race, Disability, Sexuality, Nationality
- Internet dating
- Integration of on-line and off-line social networking activities
- Emotion and social networking
- Media choice and use in relation to community building
- Network evolution (especially longitudinal research)
- Relation between network position/network pattern and individual/organisational performance
- Effect of social network technologies on networks within and between organisations
- Communities of Practice and online communities
- Social network analysis of the Semantic Web
- Semantic web communities
- Harvesting of network information in online communities and mail messages


Associate Editors:


- Jos Benders, Tilburg University
- Harry Bouwman, University of Technology Delft
- Kathy Buckner, Napier University
- Vincent Buskens, Utrecht University
- Elaine Ferneley, University of Salford
- Norbert Gronau, Potsdam University
- Robert Hanneman, University of California
- Bettina Hoser, Karlsruhe University
- Netta Iivari, University of Oulu
- Sue Newell, Bentley College
- Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, University of Oulu
- Shan Pan, National University of Singapore.
- Frantz Rowe, Université de Nantes
- Steffen Staab, University of Koblenz-Landau
- Lidwien van de Wijngaert, Utrecht University

- Frederic Adam, University College Cork