Internet as Social Media: Connectivity and Immediacy A-Level Coursework

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Internet as Social Media: Connectivity and Immediacy

The use of social media on the Internet provides businesses with new and different useful information. Through revolutionizing communications, Internet social media provides this information in at least 9 aspects. Consequently, though some would argue against the usefulness of social media on the Internet for business purposes, the Internet provides clear potential for revolutionizing business itself.

Does the availability and use of social media on the Internet really provide businesses with new and different useful information? If so, how? If not, why not?

The use of social media on the Internet provides businesses with new and different useful information. The Internet's revolution in communication has necessarily resulted in a revolution in business in several aspects. First, the technology developed in the Internet allows a business' internal and external communications to be "long tailed" or stretched across several different forums (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). This aspect is advantageous to a business in several ways: there is no need for people within the organization to waste time by laboring within one forum, and then in another forum, and then in another forum, in order to accomplish work; rather, communications can be sent and received across several types of Internet forums such as e-mail, conferencing via Skype or other provider, twitter, blogs and bulletin boards, thereby encouraging fast, inexpensive and open communications among employees and between employees and management (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). In addition, this multi-faceted communication across multiple forums worldwide allows a business to give and receive information, and to tailor its products and messages to potential and existing customers anywhere in the world (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Secondly, the proliferation of social media allows teams within a company to develop, share and improve ideas quickly, enhancing the creative process, responsiveness and productivity within the business (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Third, the Internet allows a business to stay up-to-date 24 hours per day from any network terminal anywhere in the world (Adams & Frost, 2006) regarding competitors and the latest developments, while making and maintaining connections with business leaders (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Fourth, by easy connection and open communication with its consumers through such Internet forms of social media as websites, bulletin boards, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, a business can track the number of visitors and the areas or types of media used, has access to more varied forms of communication, and can learn and respond to its customers' concerns and feedback, thus building and strengthening its brand (Oywang, 2010; Milliken, 2010; Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). An excellent example of a company's Internet awareness and remedy of a customer concern is found in the $150.00 YouTube video "United Breaks Guitars" (Sonofmaxwell, 2009), which not only conveyed the customer's experience and displeasure to the management of United but also to the world, thus speeding and enhancing United's response to that customer's concerns (Hanna, 2010). Fifth, because some types of social media allow members to join groups with specific interests and concerns, and to openly communicate about those interests and concerns, a business can tap into those groups for highly cost-effective and targeted marketing based on a wealth of information gained about the members' demographic characteristics, desired products and desired changes in products (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Sixth, a business can encourage its own employees to become members of different social media groups, which can disseminate and gather information valuable to the business regarding its products, marketing and customer service (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Seventh, due to the rapidity with which a business can discern and respond to potential customer and existing customer concerns, a business can quickly learn of and dispel rumors, learn of and counteract negative publicity, provide customer service and encourage social media users to circulate the business' messages (Oywang, 2010; (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Eighth, a business can use paid services to monitor web conversations for qualitative and quantitative analyses of the methods and content of information across the web (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). This allows a business to know what is being said, where it is being said, who is saying it, and the effectiveness of its own message; this, in turn, allows a business to adapt its message and its concentrated efforts on certain forums among certain groups. Ninth, the Internet is the largest information retrieval system in the world, with search engines assisting ready access to relevant documents (Adams & Frost, 2006). This aspect allows a business to engage in speedy, accurate, comprehensive research regarding employees, potential customers, existing customers, and essentially any stakeholder. Finally, social media such as Facebook and MySpace allow a business to learn a great deal about prospective employees and existing employees, steering clear of undesirable employees and monitoring the behavior of current employees (Oywang, 2010; Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011).

Several arguments run contra to the usefulness of social media on the Internet for new and useful business information. Some argue that social media is not new and was, in fact, quite useful before the Internet, pointing to the beginning of social media with the telegraph's invention in 1792 and its effectiveness for new and useful information through telephone, radio and print up to the Internet's inception (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). This argument ignores the fact that the instantaneous, 24-hour, worldwide aspect of the Internet is a communications revolution that can gather information from diverse and huge numbers of individuals (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). While, social media is not new, the Internet's revolutionary changes in communications outstrip older, more limited forms of social media in obtaining new and useful information. Still others argue that a number of people cannot access the Internet, which would render the Internet useless for gaining information from them (Adams & Frost, 2006). While it is true that some people cannot access the Internet, the number of individuals accessing the Internet worldwide is staggering. The YouTube video "United Breaks Guitars" was had 4.6 million viewings from July 6, 2009 to the end of that same month, giving just a glimpse of the huge numbers of individuals using and viewing information on the web (Hanna, 2010); consequently, the fact that some individuals cannot or do not access the Internet should not deter businesses from addressing the vast numbers of individuals who do access the Internet. Others argue against the quality of data gathered over the Internet, as much of it is not audited, verified or regulated; consequently, the bulk of the information gathered by businesses over the Internet may be quite unreliable (Adams & Frost, 2006). While it is true that Internet information is not necessarily audited, verified or regulated, businesses have a variety of social media sources that can be used on the Internet to gather, examine and filter information, allowing greater reliability of the information (Oywang, 2010). Finally, some argue that many businesses are really not as delightfully proactive about their Internet usage; rather, many businesses have a very limited understanding of web usage and limited resources for gathering new and useful information from the Internet (Adams & Frost, 2006); consequently, these businesses do not, in fact, gain much new and useful information from the Internet. Rather than disregarding the potential of the Internet because some businesses are uneducated and have inadequate Internet resources, businesses should be educated and encouraged to devote greater resources to the Internet, for several reasons: management can be readily educated about the various usages of social media on the Internet (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011); social media on the Internet is often relatively inexpensive and in the case of Facebook, for example, is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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