Christian pens entry in newly released Encyclopedia of Social Networks

Sep 28, 2011 | General News, Liberal Arts

Dr. Elizabeth Barfoot Christian, an assistant professor of journalism, has written an entry in the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Social Networks, released this month by SAGE Publications, Inc.  The two-volume mammoth work, edited by George Barnett, includes more than 350 entries and 40 media clips.
Christian’s 2,500-word article covers the history of social networks from 1976 through 1999.
“A lot of people associate social networks with Facebook and Twitter and don’t realize that social networks and networking existed even prior to the computer age,” Christian said.  “The time period was pivotal. It was just 25 years, but it encompassed such a huge amount of change in that time frame.  In the late 1970s, most people and most small businesses did not even have computers.  But by the late 1990s, computer technology was poised to change the world.  We had PCs.  The Internet was burgeoning.  Blogging had brought down a president.
“Today social networks have literally changed the definition of community. Unfortunately, not all of that has been for good.  Fringe groups that mean harm have found it much easier to find social networks with Internet technology, as well.”
According to the publication’s website, the encyclopedia provides a thorough introduction to the wide-ranging, fast-developing field of social networking, a much-needed resource at a time when new social networks or “communities” seem to spring up on the internet every day. Social networks, or groupings of individuals tied by one or more specific types of interests or interdependencies ranging from likes and dislikes, or disease transmission to the “old boy” network or overlapping circles of friends, have been in existence for longer than services such as Facebook or YouTube; analysis of these networks emphasizes the relationships within the network. This reference resource offers comprehensive coverage of the theory and research within the social sciences that has sprung from the analysis of such groupings, with accompanying definitions, measures and research.