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Connecting Theory to Social Technology Platforms: A Framework For Measuring Influence in Context

Publication Type:

Journal Article


American Behavioral Scientist, Volume Accepted (2014)


In this article we synthesize three years of social technologies research, including studies of Facebook, Twitter and GitHub, to present a a theory driven framework to guide future social scientific research using “Big Data”. We connect levels of analysis derived from empirical study of influence to the core, electronic trace data generated by social technologies. Specifically, we outline a relationship between social media technology platforms, individual goals for participation and emergent small groups to inform future research on influence in social technologies. We incorporate theory from small group literature, communities and networks of practice and media theory to explicate a contextual framework for measuring influence. In our discussion we propose three categories of social technology: Social media, distributed work and participatory mass media, presenting Facebook, GitHub and Twitter as exemplars of each respective category.
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