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Brewer, D. D. A plea for consistent terminology for personal and social networks. Paper presented at the 26th International Sunbelt Social Networks Conference, Vancouver, Canada, April, 2006. Presentation available at SSRN:

Consensual terminology is required for clear communication in any scientific field, especially for the most fundamental concepts. In recent years, researchers have introduced many new adjectives to refer to personal networks (e.g. local) and social networks (e.g. complete, global, sociocentric, sociometric and whole). I discuss desirable properties of scientific terminology and argue that each of the new terms is superfluous and misapplied. I conclude by suggesting that any mention of the new terms should at least involve explicit cross-referencing with the established terms, and that abandoning the new terms altogether in favor of the established terms would be even better.

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