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Like, Share and Follow: A Conceptualisation of Social Buttons on the Web

Conference paper
Authors Jan Ljungberg
Dick Stenmark
Fahd Omair Zaffar
Published in Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing ; Nordic Contributions in IS Research
ISBN 978-3-319-64694-7
ISSN 1865-1348
Publisher Springer
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Social Buttons, Social Capital Theory, Social Networking Sites, clicker, clickee
Subject categories Information Systems, Social aspects, Communication Studies, Media Studies


In this theoretical and argumentative paper we analyse the implications of social buttons as used on social networking sites (SNSs). Although social buttons have been around for many years, there is still a scarcity of research on their effects despite their pivotal functions for the success of SNSs. We conceptualise these buttons as Like buttons, Share buttons and Follow buttons and analyse them and their associated actions through the lens of social capital theory. Our analysis shows how the clicker and the clickee are affected differently through these social buttons, and in the process, we also propose seven concepts to describe the social implications of these buttons. Having discussed these concepts, we conclude the paper by offering three contributions; a) the distinguishing between the clicker and the clickee; b) the subtle but yet distinct differences between buttons, and; c) a set of ways through which social buttons become productive.

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