Networking in Business Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Social Media on the Business World

Social media continues to be one of the most disruptive technology platforms there are today, driven by the rapid scalability of web applications coupled with the social dynamics of immediate sharing of data and experiences. The concepts of social media began with the introduction and widespread adoption of Web 2.0 technologies (O'Reilly, 2006). The foundational elements of these technologies led to the creation of more advanced social media platforms diverse as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and a myriad of other social media platforms. Their impact on personal communication is unprecedented, as is their potential to streamline and revitalize how enterprises communicate and collaborate (Kristien, Heene, 2003). The intent of this analysis is to evaluate the history of social media, its advantages and disadvantages, explore the myths of social media, dominant websites, the impact of social media on daily life, and also the potential future of these platforms overall.

History of Social Media

Social media's foundation is predicated on the fundamental concepts of Web 2.0, the aggregated view of online communication and collaboration as defined by O'Reilly and Associates (O'Reilly, 2006). It is common knowledge throughout Silicon Valley that Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly and Associates often meets with the key architects at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, advising them on the Web 2.0 framework he initially created eight years ago. O'Reilly reasoned that creating a foundation that enabled greater information and knowledge sharing while retaining ownership of key aspects of communication could serve as the foundation for social networks (O'Reilly, 2006). The focus on Web 2.0 is on treating the Web as a platform, giving the user control and flexibility over their own data. The Web 2.0 Meme Map illustrates this aspect of social networks in its nascent stage (Bernoff, Li, 2008). Figure 1 provides an overview of the underlying technology of social media platforms and networks today. Taken together these attributes are the impetus for making Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the myriad of other social networks capable of scaling to meet the needs of users globally today.

Figure 1: The Underlying Technology of Social Media (Web 2.0 Meme Map and Structure)
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(O'Reilly, 2006)

Once this foundation was in place, entrepreneurs began building social networks to capitalize on these design objectives and the underlying technology platforms and frameworks rapidly going in place to support them. The combination of these networks began to create a disruptively innovative foundation for blogging platforms, mash-ups of two Web Services (Gaytan, 2013), intensive peer-to-peer networking technologies that can scale and include the latest social networking sites including YikYak, Twitter, and others (Okazaki, Taylor, 2013). In conjunction with these developments there was also the emergent growth of mainstream social media, the first social networking sites including MySpace, Friendster and others (Bernoff, Li, 2008). Wikis also became more prevalent during this time as online consumers of content started becoming producers and contributors as well (Bernoff, Li, 2008). Figure 2 to the left provides an analysis of the nascent forms of social media and networks that eventually led to the proliferation of networks today.

Figure 2: Comparing Social Media Platforms

Sources: (Bernoff, Li, 2008) (O'Reilly, 2006)

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media

The advantages of social media are extensive yet must be balanced with its weaknesses and risks. There are many downsides to social media, with bullying and abuse being commonplace for example (Sentse, Kiuru, Veenstra, Salmivalli, 2014). Beginning with the advantages, social media has made it exceptionally easy for advertisers to reach potential customers quickly and at a relatively low cost (Okazaki, Taylor, 2013). Advertising is what fuels the growth of Facebook today, transforming what had been a small social network just limited to Ivy League colleges into a global social networking foundation that is changing how people and groups communicate. A second advantage of social media is how quickly it can be used for enabling rapid disaster relief (Kirac, Milburn, 2013). Social media and networks are also pervasively used for managing online education and learning systems as well (Gaytan, 2013). Enterprises are also using social media to create competitive advantage through greater communication and collaboration across their many diverse locations and operations (Kristien, Heene, 2003).

For all of these benefits however social networks still have many disadvantages…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2008). Harnessing the power of the oh-so-social web. MIT Sloan Management Review, 49(3), 36-42.

Erickson, L.B. (2011). Web 2.0 and social networking for the enterprise. Research Technology Management, 54(1), 67-68.

Gaytan, J. (2013). Integrating social media into the learning environment of the classroom: Following social constructivism principles. Journal of Applied Research for Business Instruction, 11(1), 1-6.

Kirac, E., & Milburn, A.B., PhD. (2013). How social media information is changing disaster relief routing plans. IIE Annual Conference.Proceedings, 3984-3993.

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