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Comunicar Journal 60: How to become a genius. Personalized learning and high capacities in the connected society (Vol. 27 - 2019)

Systematic review of the current state of research on Online Social Networks: Taxonomy on experience of use


The widespread use of online social networks (OSN) among young people has been accompanied by an increase of publications about them and their effects on the psychosocial development of users. Previous panoramic reviews on OSN research are now outdated and do not provide a comprehensive view of the complexity of the user experience. The aims of this systematic review were three: to identify quantitative studies on OSN; to build a taxonomy about the user experience; and to classify studied variables in the topics and subtopics. The literature search and review according to PICoS strategy led to 546 identified publications that met the eligibility criteria. The taxonomy included nine major topics: overall use; activities and types of use; perceptions and attitudes OSN; the social network of online contacts; needs and motives for use; profile and privacy management; social processes; identity processes; and cognitive-emotional processes related to use of OSN. The three most studied topics were: overall use; activities and types of use; and social processes related to use of OSN. Classification and quantification of the different variables studied about the users’ experience is detailed. Several theoretical perspectives are discussed, as well as the gaps and challenges in OSN research. The proposed taxonomy could be useful for researchers to better delineate the aims of future studies.