Intro to Social Networking

What is a Social Network?

Boyd and Ellison 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. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.

Here is a video that gives another description of social networking:

Social networking might be right for your child or student if:

  • He/she is at least 13 years old
  • He/she interested in using the computer
  • He/she would like another way to communicate with friends and relatives
  • He/she would enjoy viewing pictures of friends or relatives online
  • He/she would enjoy reading or listening to information and updates about friends and relatives

When you feel comfortable with the definition of a social networking site, see our “choosing a social network” page to preview and assist you and your child/student in choosing the site that suits them best.


Boyd, D., & Ellison, N.  (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication13(1), article 11.

Kids’ Internet Saftey Alliance (KINSA).  (2009)  Kids’ Internet Safety Alliance (KINSA) Virtually Safe program – Social Networking.  Retrieved August 7, 2010, from:!


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