Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Issues in Information Behaviour on Social Media

Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Issues in Information Behaviour on Social Media

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Social media applications have encroached into all areas of our lives, and are having a major impact on how we live, work, play, learn, socialize and vote! Social media in its various manifestations present a golden opportunity and rich environment to study information behaviour, as much of the information (in text, image and video format) are recorded and stored in publicly accessible repositories and on personal devices. Yet there is a paucity of social media research from the perspective of information behaviour.

Information behaviour covers a wide range of user behaviour in relation to information and information systems, including information need generation, information creation, seeking, encountering, sharing, giving, assessment, management and use. These are studied in the context of different kinds of tasks in work, everyday and play environments. All these aspects of information behaviour can be studied in the context of social media use.

Social media is a broad concept covering a wide range of Internet applications that support social communication between individuals (whether direct or indirect, synchronous or asynchronous), with an emphasis on:

* interaction between users (i.e. conversation or dialogue),

* user-generated content, and

* building of online relationships and communities (adapted from Turban, King & Lang, 2011).

They support all kinds of social interactions, mediated and captured by Internet applications including mobile applications. The online communities that evolve exhibit social and collaborative information behaviour that can be studied.

Social media can also refer to the user-generated content resulting from the online social interaction. Blackshaw and Nazzaro (2004) referred to it as "consumer-generated media (CGM) [that] describes a variety of new sources of online information that are created, initiated, circulated and used by consumers intent on educating each other about products, brands, services, personalities, and issues" (p. 2). The user-generated content reflects information behaviour, but also contains information that users can search for, browse and consume.

Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) identified six types of social media:

1. social networking sites (e.g., Facebook)

2. collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia), including collaborative authoring

3. blogs and microblogs (e.g., blogspot.com and Twitter), which support online journaling

4. content communities (e.g., YouTube and Flickr), which support file and content sharing

5. virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft)

6. virtual social worlds (e.g., Second Life).

In addition, the following types of sites can also be considered social media:

7. online discussion forums

8. consumer review and rating sites (e.g., TripAdvisor and RateAdrug]

9. social question-answering sites (e.g., Yahoo! Answers)

10. collaborative/social bookmarking/tagging sites (e.g., CiteULike and Delicious)

11. online auction sites (e.g., eBay)

12. text communication services (e.g., email and instant messaging service)

13. voice and video communication services (e.g., Skype).

This literature survey focuses on two types of social media applications where there is a substantial amount of user interaction that is captured as user-contributed content-social networking sites and online discussion forums. The survey covers journal articles and conference papers published primarily between 2006 and early 2014, indexed in the Library and Information Science Abstracts database. Selected references in these papers published earlier than 2006 were also consulted.

SELECTION OF PAPERS AND REASEARCH QUESTIONS

Recent journal articles and conference papers on social networking sites and online discussion forums were identified by submitting the following search queries to the ProQuest retrieval system to search the Library and Information Science Abstracts database:

* To retrieve records of articles on social networking sites: ti,ab("social media" OR "social networking" OR sns OR facebook OR twitter) (limited to the document types conference, conference report, journal article and literature review)

* To retrieve records of articles on online discussion forums: ti,ab("discussion forum*" OR "bulletin board*" OR "discussion board*") (limited to the document types conference, conference report, journal article and literature review). …

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