Online Technology

Online Communities, Communities of Practice

Communities vs. Social Networks

These days “Social Media” has become a trigger word amongst the corporate world. The question is “what is social media?” Many seem to relate social media to Facebook-like social networking sites; others seem to think that they are blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, or similar type of content sharing Web 2.0 applications. Yet, answers to this question may still range from social collaboration sites (like Wikipedia, or Digg) to online communities. The question posed is what does this all mean? I believe that all the examples above are correct to a certain extent, and these are functional classifications of social media.

What is the difference between Social Networks and Communities though? Lets have a look by first defining these terms

Social networks:

Everyone has their own social network (whether online or offline). Everyone has friends, family, and people they are acquainted with through one way or another. An online social networking site simply makes our social networks visible to others who are not in our immediate network.

With this knowledge, it should be obvious why Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn are social networks as opposed to communities.

“I have a friend request from some stranger on facebook and i delete it without looking at the profile because that doesn’t seem natural. ’cause friendship should not be as easy as that. it’s like people believe all you need to do is like the same bands in order to be soulmates. or books.omg… U like the outsiders 2… it’s like we’re the same person! no we’re not. it’s like we have the same english teacher. there’s a difference.”
― David Levithan,

Communities:

Unlike social networks, communities (both online and offline) are more interesting from a social perspective, because they often consist of people from all walks of life that seem to have no relationship at all. How do they form this common interest?

It maybe a hobby, something the community members are passionate about, a common goal, project, or preference for a similar lifestyle, geographical location, or profession.

After clearly defining a social network and community, hopefully you will find yourself associating social media tools such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr with communities rather than social networks.

Pam Moore (@pammktgnut“You can never go wrong by investing in communities and the human beings within them.”

Social Networks are:

  1. Held together by pre-established interpersonal relationships between individuals. So you technically know everyone that is directly connected with you.
  2. Each person has one social network.
  3. They have a network structure.

Communities are:

  1. Held together by some common interests of a large group of people. Although there may be pre-existing interpersonal relationship between members of a community, it is not required. So new members usually do not know most of the people in the community.
  2. One person may be part of many communities.
  3. They have an overlapping and nested structure.

To tie this all together I found this short Youtube video very beneficial. This is a great informational video about how Online Communities can be better than Social Media Sites:

Issues and Challenges of Social Media

How to take your business “Online”

How do i go about marketing my business on Social Media ? Do i need additional Staff to ensure my business goals effective? Some of the questions that have been on my brain today. I have been thinking more and more about the implications and challenges of social media as I’m writing not only an Assignment but this ongoing blog about social media.

Im left wondering what is actually needed to get the social media aspects of your business online?

“All one needs is a computer, a network connection, and a bright spark of initiative and creativity to join the economy.” -Don Tapscott

Issues Surrounding Social Media

I have decided to investigate 2 main areas around the issues and challenges of social media that I feel are key to any business using social media:

  1. Managing the time taken to effectively use social media
  2. Hiring dedicating staff to manage social media relations

Managing the time taken to effectively use social media

Social-Media-Time-Consuming-ClockSocial media is one of those things that small business owners know they need to do, but they are not quite sure how to find the time to do it. As commented earlier you don’t need to necessarily be the most tech-savvy person to effectively maintain a effective social media presence. A few key steps to effectively manage time spent on maintaining the social media aspect of your business could be:

  • Have a Plan of Attack

Research and find out where your customers and prospects are having conversations and where your business can add value.This will help your business reach its target audience and also grow in the right area of the social media environment. Google alerts or other such apps are effective in achieving this

  • Don’t worry about perfection in every post. 

Start by listening and learning from others, Research into other companies operating close to your business will help you understand what traction is needed to grow your business in the social media environment. As your confidence grows you will become more confident and can become more effective with your time management.

  • Master one Social Media Tool at a time. 

It is much better to be effective using one social media tool than to use five of them poorly. Choose the tool based on where most of your customers and prospects are, this will be important while your confidence is still growing and your will effectively reach your target audience.

  • Dedicated Time to Social Media.

If you can only spend one hour a week, consistently manage your time so that you meet this expectation. This is a much better strategy than spending 2 hours one day and then 5 minutes the next week. Your target audience will likely respond better to consistent and effective social media use.

Extra Staff to manage social Media Relations

great-social-media-manager

Does it make sense for a small business to hire someone to manage the businesses social media presence?

Absolutely, small businesses should work with someone on social media. It’s not as clear-cut as posting every other day or sending a few tweets every other tuesday, to keep your audience entertained and engaged. You must develop a game plan, and then follow it through with the appropriate actions.

Effective use of social media combines excellent customer service, expertise in the market, dependable and engaging content, and the delight of engaging with your audience online. Social-media presence must also reflect a company’s advertising, marketing and public-relations strategies.

In an ideal situation it would be far better for one person or team to handle public relations, marketing, advertising and the social media aspect. This helps keep the message or campaign cohesive and consistent. However, that can become pricey and isn’t necessarily attractive for most budgets, especially small businesses which are a huge part of the NZ economy.

If separate departments are used then it is particularly important to ensure both departments have oversight, this will ensure the message and campaign objectives are met.

“The best way to engage honestly with the marketplace via Twitter is to never use the words “engage,” “honestly,” or “marketplace.” ― Jeffrey Zeldman

Web 2.0/Web 3.0 Technologies and Information Architecture

Many of us did not know, myself included there was a “Web 1.0” until we heard about “Web 2.0” being used. Awesome we are already 2 steps behind the playing field. Before an accepted and standard use of “Web 2.0” was achieved for many, “Web 3.0” was being referenced and rolled out into the market. So what is this all about, let’s make this as easy and basic as possible to understand. For starters, each of these terms represent use of the internet. Each number represents more complicated functions the internet can provide as technology advances and more features become available.

“In other words, the more frequently you repeat a given word, the LESS likely you’re going to rank well for that word.”
― Michalis Kotzakolios

Web 2.0: Web 2.0 sites allow for user interaction and participation by having a user-friendly interface where one can edit and publish the existing information.  The term “architecture of participation” or “Web-oriented architecture” is often used because the viewer has some power and control over the data.  Web 2.0 also utilizes social networking tools to further increase the level of viewer participation.  Examples include podcasting, blogging, tagging, and social bookmarking

Ok, so we understand the concepts of Web 2.0 now…but what’s Web 3.0? 

 

Web 3.0: As generally predicted, web 3.0 introduces, in some respects, the “persona” of the web browser. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome etc. will be capable of tracking and synthesising information about a user’s history, and from this provide suggestions for future browsing. Web 3.o has been described as having a digital personal assistant that knows practically everything about you and can access all the information on the Internet to answer any questions you may pose. What does this leave for us to think about? I don’t know about you but I personally like to read and discover new things on the internet rather than have it arrive on a plate, it will definitely be interesting to see how we use the internet in 10 – 20 years.