Strategic Management Facebook Case Presentation Research Paper

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Research Paper on Strategic Management Facebook Case Presentation Assignment

Social Networking through such sites as MySpace, Friendster and Facebook has become a popular and virally spreading interest in the United States. And avenues such as Blogging and Tweeting have facilitated a form of independent mass communication that allows regular internet users to broadcast thoughts both personal and general to the world. Such online contexts for community and group orientation and networking have originated in the U.S. And have generated remarkable success and innovative application there. To some extent, it seems to be a direct reflection of the celebrity culture in the United States, with tabloid culture, reality television and x-celebrity voyeurism suggesting an almost obsessive drive to eliminate the boundaries between public and private life. For the common media user, the internet has become a de facto medium through which to live out these instincts, with personal disclosure, self-promotion and the desire to establish connections with large social cross-sections all playing significantly into the success of social networking and blogging. Such outlets have become extremely popular and effective ways to access one another; to communicate our thoughts, ideas and event invitations; to connect with old friends; to establish new friendships or romances; to voice political views; or to share forms of personal and artistic expression. However, there are broader sociological effects which have come into sharper focus as these outlets have come increasingly to permeate popular culture. Indeed, none has penetrated the popular lexicon and lifestyle of Americans as has Facebook, the social networking site that for many has become a de facto forum for personal expression, communication with members of one's social network and intercession with individuals of common interest. Today, Facebook is relatively unchallenged in its dominance in the field of online social networking, but it also stands as a target for competitors and a point of controversy in the evolving discussion concerning internet privacy. Therefore, the strategic profile and case analysis offered hereafter are intended to provide some basic organizational insight into the realities ahead for Facebook as a product and as an organization.

Facebook began in 2004 as a free service centering on the Harvard campus community where its founder was a student who desired to make virtual the traditional 'facebook' campus directories that have been used to connect and organize student groups and social circles. According to the article produced in 2006, Facebook would by then have become " a full-fledged technology business with over 100 employees and 7.5 million users." (Harken, 139) Moreover, it has distinguished itself significantly in the American market from other social networking sites by creating a greater level of user-control over the development of a personal network and the defining of privacy terms and limitations. But most importantly, its strategic development would focus on a strategy largely driven by more personal rather commercial or anonymous interfacing.

Harken points to this as a key difference in the internal strategy of Facebook, as this differs from the structures of the companies which preceded it in achieving popularity and mainstream penetration. Harken indicates that "unlike Friendster and MySpace, where divisions between various networks were not explicit, Facebook made its members' school their primary network and offered only limited access beyond that. 'What makes it so much better than Friendster is that it's your peers rather than a random assortment of people.' Said Sarah Williams, a freshman at Berklee School of Music in Boston." (Harken, 143) Here, not just on the point of competition, but also on the point of achieving an internal design for product growth which is more inherently self-perpetuating, Facebook has distinguished itself in terms of the speed and sturdiness of its expansion.

For Facebook, this success has converged with a high cultural in its chosen product field. Particularly, the cachet of social networking has never been higher. Initially comprised in order to connect students with specific ties to universities and campus communities, today it is increasingly common for one's social network to include parents, relatives and even teachers. This is to say that at this juncture, Facebook has permeated the general culture and public perceptions in a way that has done nothing less than alter the way that individuals interface with one another, not just virtually, but socially.

Initially, Facebook's success would rest on its remodeling of industry standards. With Myspace establishing dominance first, Facebook would devise a strategy informed by the successes of the burgeoning industry and simultaneously underscored by the needs demonstrated there within. Accordingly, company founder Mark Zuckerberg would approach Facebook with consideration of the industry's conceivable risks first and foremost. According to Harken's (2006) profile of the company, in spite of Facebook's immediate and rousing success, "other well-funded, so-called 'social networking' sites had come and gone long before Zuckerberg coded Facebook in his Harvard University dormitory. Was it just a fad that would disappear from the collegiate landscape as quickly and vigorously as it had consumed it? Or would Facebook remain popular and overcome mounting competitive threats and intense media scrutiny?" (Harken, 139) These would be the difficult questions before Facebook as it achieved a plateau of success theretofore unseen in the creation of a fully virtual product.

In many ways, the successes of Facebook would be drawn on some of the apparent failures of its precursors. Here, Facebook would be modeled by chief competitors such as MySpace, which achieved total penetration of popular culture during the early part of the millennium before being purchased by Fox Broadcasting parent company Newscorp. The site was essentially designed on the twin premises of free social networking on a single forum and the creation of a valuable contained and ever-expanding demographic for advertising within said forum. The result would be a surprising willingness on the part of its users to engage in full biographical and commercial disclosure. Miyazaki & Fernandez (2000) would observe of the trend that "although several prior academic and industry studies have evaluated commercial Web sites for privacy -- and security -- related disclosures, most have taken a general approach and have not examined how such disclosures may affect consumer behavior." (Miyazaki & Fernandez, 54) MySpace would provide both considerable income to its creators and something of an ethnographic context for evaluation of such behaviors. The site would prove consumers willing to forego the privacy which they may have been inclined to protect during an online purchasing exchange, instead allowing the site to catalogue their interests and hobbies in conjunction with personal and contact information.

Ultimately, this would open the floodgates for a new way of socializing and relating. In recent years, the commercialization of MySpace has led to a decline in its use as increasingly savvy social networkers have flooded to other networks such as Friendster and Facebook. The latter has in particular taken up the mantle of MySpace with a superior template that was actively pursued by Zuckerberg and his associates as they worked to develop a competitive model. Accordingly, "Zuckerberg would have to develop an organization strategy that could allow the company to keep up with its underlying growth metrics, while ensuring Facebook's user experience was better than its alternatives. The company's core market -- college students -- were prone to switching and potential new markets -- college students outside of the U.S. And high school students -- were rife with well-funded entrants that were a step ahead of Facebook." (Harken, 139)

Thus, Facebook would enter the market with a clear intent to overtake its preexisting and well-grounded competitor. And indeed, its more streamlined aesthetic design and dynamic tools for connecting individuals through community or common interest have elevated Facebook to the single most prominent social networking site. And even as Facebook is designed with superior security and protection of information, it is increasingly the set of decisions made by its users that defines Facebook's betrayal of privacy. The text by Barnes (2006) concludes as much as it observes the meteoric rise in the popularity of these forums. The Barnes article is conscientious of the connection between this and the social tendencies of its users. Here, focusing on the younger demographics that first served to initiate the rise in prominence of social networking, Barnes tells that "the popularity of social networking sites on the Internet introduces the use of mediated -- communication into the relationship development process. Teenagers now use organized social Web sites to meet others and explore identity formation. These sites can be viewed within a larger trend that shifts the influence of interpersonal correspondence to mediated messages." (Barnes, 1) Indeed, today it can be said that where its base competition exists, Facebook has largely vanquished its closest competition in the American market from which it has drawn its base target audience.

Facebook's enormous popularity may be attributed to its method of expansion, which seems to attract users in a way that is not just exponential, but which also attends to the concern of keeping users plugged in. By creating a model which establishes categorical forums through and general avenues through which… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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