In this photo from the Annenberg Networks Network website, Professors Janet Fulk (fourth from right) and Peter Monge (second from right) meet with students and colleagues from Northwestern University and Georgia Tech.
In this photo from the Annenberg Networks Network website, Professors Janet Fulk (fourth from right) and Peter Monge (second from right) meet with students and colleagues from Northwestern University and Georgia Tech.

Professors Fulk and Monge Study the Organization of Social Networks

Annenberg Communication Professors Janet Fulk and Peter Monge recently published an article entitled “The Emergence and Evolution of Social Networking Sites as an Organizational Form” in the journal Management Communication Quarterly.

The article was co-authored with Matthew S. Weber, a professor at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University.

In the article, Professors Fulk, Monge, and Weber add to existing research on social networking sites by focusing on them as organizational forms.

While social networks like Facebook or Twitter are often studied by looking at their communities of users, Fulk, Monge, and Weber point out in their article that the networks are also organizations. And the experience a user of a social network has is affected by the internal organization of the company, including leadership and culture. At Facebook, for instance, the decision of the engineering team to modify the newsfeed algorithm weekly means that an internal choice dictates how news is distributed to users.

The article notes that as social networks grow, more study of organizational structure is crucial. As companies decide which information to make most visible to users of their social networks, their choices have the potential to both attract and repel potential advertisers and users.

Both Fulk and Monge are active with the Annenberg Networks Network, which studies social networks.

Sarah Holterman

Sarah Holterman is Graduate Programs & Student Aid Coordinator for the School of Communication. She oversees the administration of the doctoral program, including fellowships and admissions, and produces School of Communication web content. She tweets...