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date: 17 January 2021

Social Networking Sites (SNS, Social Networking Services). 

The Oxford Companion to the English Language
Tom McArthurTom McArthur, Jacqueline Lam-McArthurJacqueline Lam-McArthur, Lise FontaineLise Fontaine

Sites or services which facilitate the establishment and maintenance of interpersonal relationships through online platforms. Individuals use SNSs to befriend, follow, ‘like’, or form groups with others, with individual ties hence leading to the construction of larger social formations. These networks can be ego-centred or shaped around perceived mutual interests in people, organizations, and/or events. For example, one of the most popular SNS networks, Facebook, facilitates personal networks, since individuals are encouraged to build their own profile, which they can subsequently make more or less visible to others (using privacy settings to restrict certain posts, images, etc. to a particular group of users). At the same time, though, Facebook users can ‘like’, follow, or join (open or closed) groups, as well as ‘like’ or ‘follow’ pages of, for example, celebrities or politicians, allowing Facebook to also cater to group formation. In sharing information on their own (private, semi-private, or public) profiles, users make important claims about how they view and position themselves vis-à-vis others and how they view others vis-à-vis themselves.... ...

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