Public dialogs in social network sites: What is their purpose?
Version of Record online: 5 NOV 2009
© 2009 ASIS&T
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume 61, Issue 2, pages 392–404, February 2010
How to Cite
Thelwall, M. and Wilkinson, D. (2010), Public dialogs in social network sites: What is their purpose?. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 61: 392–404. doi: 10.1002/asi.21241
- Issue online: 19 JAN 2010
- Version of Record online: 5 NOV 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 2 SEP 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 SEP 2009
- Manuscript Received: 8 MAY 2009
Social network sites (SNSs) such as MySpace and Facebook are important venues for interpersonal communication, especially among youth. One way in which members can communicate is to write public messages on each other's profile, but how is this unusual means of communication used in practice? An analysis of 2,293 public comment exchanges extracted from large samples of U.S. and U.K. MySpace members found them to be relatively rapid, but rarely used for prolonged exchanges. They seem to fulfill two purposes: making initial contact and keeping in touch occasionally such as at birthdays and other important dates. Although about half of the dialogs seem to exchange some gossip, the dialogs seem typically too short to play the role of gossip-based “social grooming” for typical pairs of Friends, but close Friends may still communicate extensively in SNSs with other methods.