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While their key technological features are fairly consistent, the cultures that emerge around SNSs are varied.

Most sites support the maintenance of pre-existing social networks, but others help strangers connect based on shared interests, political views, or activities.

We conclude with a description of the articles included in this special section and suggestions for future research.

We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

Alternatively, Linked In controls what a viewer may see based on whether she or he has a paid account.

Sites like My Space allow users to choose whether they want their profile to be public or “Friends only.” Facebook takes a different approach—by default, users who are part of the same “network” can view each other’s profiles, unless a profile owner has decided to deny permission to those in their network.

The visibility of a profile varies by site and according to user discretion.

By default, profiles on Friendster and are crawled by search engines, making them visible to anyone, regardless of whether or not the viewer has an account.

“Networking” emphasizes relationship initiation, often between strangers.Since their introduction, social network sites (SNSs) such as My Space, Facebook, Cyworld, and Bebo have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily practices.As of this writing, there are hundreds of SNSs, with various technological affordances, supporting a wide range of interests and practices.brings together scholarship on these emergent phenomena.In this introductory article, we describe features of SNSs and propose a comprehensive definition.

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