Sharing Economy & Social Media

KEY POINTS

    • Social media are examples of Web 2.0 technologies, which contrast significantly with the more passive, top-down technologies that characterized Web 1.0 web pages.
    • Specifically, social media features a rich user experience, dynamic content, scalability, openness, and collective intelligence.
    • Different types of social media include social networks, weblogs, microblogging, content communities, podcasts, and wikis.

TERMS

  • trolling┬áInternet slang for posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community– such as a forum, chat room, or blog– with the primary intent of provoking an emotional response in its readers or otherwise disrupting a normal discussion.
  • collective intelligence┬áA shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus-decision-making in bacteria [clarification needed], animals, and computer networks.
  • scalability┬áThe ability of a system, network, or process to handle an increasing amount of work, or its ability to be enlarged in order to accommodate that increase.
What is Social Media?

Social media are interactive platforms where content is created, distributed and shared by individuals on the web. Professors Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein of the ESCP European Business School define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. ” Social media websites and applications allow users to create and exchange user-generated content where people talk, share information, participate and network through technologies such as blogs and social networking sites. Within the last decade, social media has become one of the most powerful sources for news updates, online collaboration, networking, viral marketing, and entertainment.

Conversations in Social Media

Consumers intentionally and unintentionally use social media to purchase, evaluate and ultimately influence a brand’s marketing mix.

Characteristics of Social Media

Before the term, Web 2.0 was coined in 1999, Internet pages featured mostly static content such as text and graphics. Websites operated on Web 1.0 technologies, where website hosts and owners were the primary content contributors. Online information targeted a mostly passive audience that received rather than contributed content. However, with the introduction of Web 2.0 Internet technologies around the turn of the 21st century, social media venues such as blogs began to allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in virtual communities. This more open, communal method of social media dialogue contrasted significantly with the top-down approach that characterized the early years of the web.

Specifically, social media began meeting the characteristics of Web 2.0 websites, providing a rich user experience, dynamic content, scalability, openness and collective intelligence. Active social media users could take advantage of various features that allowed them to ‘like,’ create and post images and upload videos and text. Users could then share this information, either with a select group of friends or publicly across the web. However, this has also opened up social media websites to spamming, trolling┬áand flaming by unscrupulous or less mature users. Nevertheless, social media has grown rapidly in the U.S. and around the world due to its blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.

Types of Social Media

Some of the most popular current forms of social media are social networking websites such as Facebook, which surpassed over one billion active monthly users in October 2012. There are several types of online platforms classified under the vast umbrella of social media. These categories include:

Social Networks: Social networking websites allow users to build web pages featuring personal portfolios and interests. These pages are used to connect with friends, colleagues and other users in order to share media, content, and communications. Examples of social networks include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Bebo.

Visual social networks are becoming more popular, with Instagram having now surpassed Twitter in its amount of users. Data has shown that a tweet that includes an image has a 150% more chance of being shared. There are also new networks such as Snapchat and Periscope, that are slowly growing in terms of popularity, especially with the younger generations.

Web blogs: Some of the oldest and most popular forms of social media are blogs. Blogs are often viewed as online journals that order content chronologically, or by date, month, year and category. Users can also maintain “vlogs,” or video blogs, featuring shared or homemade videos. Blogging websites include WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr.

Microblogs: Microblogs are blogging tools that feature short posts, as opposed to journal-style posts. Users are usually restricted to posting a few lines of text or uploading individual images and videos. Microblogging is particularly common for posting quick updates and distributing content via mobile devices. Notable microblogging sites include Twitter and Tumblr. However, social networks such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and MySpace also have their own microblogging features.

Content Communities: Users on content communities organize, share and comment on different types of content, including images and videos. YouTube, Flickr, and Scribd are examples of content communities.

Wikis: Wiki websites allow a community of people to add and edit content in a community-based database. One of the best-known wikis is Wikipedia.

Podcasts: Podcasts are audio and video files available through subscription services such as Apple iTunes. The term “podcast” is a neologism derived from “broadcast” and “pod” (as in “iPod”) since Podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.

Other types of social media include the following:

  • Rating and review sites (e.g. Yelp)
  • Social bookmarking or social tagging features (e.g. Digg; Stumble Upon)
  • Forums and discussion boards (e.g. Yahoo!; Answers)
  • Virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life; World of Warcraft)
  • Music and audio sharing (e.g. Spotify; Pandora Radio)

Social media can also be classified by their ability to facilitate certain social functions. These social functions often involve identity, conversation, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme using six different types of social media– collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).


Social media serves as a cost-effective communication channel for promoting brands to target audiences.

KEY POINTS

    • The viral and collaborative nature of social media allows brands to build brand authenticity and loyalty among their users.
    • Social media allows brands to refine their segmentation strategy by reaching a narrow target audience.
    • Advertisers and PR professionals can use social media to engage audiences, create compelling content, and monitor sentiment about their brand.

TERMS

  • semantic analysis The process of relating syntactic structures, from the levels of phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs to the level of the writing as a whole, to their language-independent meanings, removing features specific to particular linguistic and cultural contexts, to the extent that such a project is possible.
  • virality┬áThe state or condition of being viral; tendency to spread by word of mouth.
  • earned media┬áPublicity for political campaigns gained through newspaper articles, TV news stories, web news, letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, and “fast polls” on TV and the web.

Social Media and Integrated Marketing Communications

Some of the most popular tweets are tweeted by companies and businesses. Powerful brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s boast Facebook pages with millions of fans. Social media, including social networks, makes it even more important for companies to ensure their online exposure ties directly to their brand image and messaging. Along with television, radio, and print, social media is part of the communications ecosystem that works as a whole to create an enjoyable and seamless consumer experience across multiple channels. Likewise, integrated marketing communications are increasingly incorporating social media into the promotional mix to reach consumers on the web and on mobile devices.

Facebook Business Page

Social networking sites such as Facebook can serve as lead generators for marketing communications campaigns.

Brand Authenticity

The explosion of social media websites has led to the increasingly important practice of social media marketing. Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A brand’s corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source as opposed to from the brand or company itself. Social networking sites and blogs allow individuals to retweet or repost comments written by the creator of the product.

When that individual repeats the message, their connections are able to see it, which means the message reaches more people. Because of the virality of social media, companies frequently use social networking sites for word-of-mouth promotions of products and services. As the information about the brand is broadcasted and repeated across the social network, more traffic is brought to the company’s website. This results in earned media rather than paid media and both serve as a lead generator and create favorable publicity for the brand.

Consumer Intelligence

Social media allows marketers to refine their segmentation strategy by reaching a narrow target audience. For example, Pinterest, a social bookmarking site with an overwhelmingly female user base, attracts companies that primarily target women.

Social networking sites also reveal vast amounts of information about prospective interest in products and services. Today, new semantic analysis technologies allow marketers to detect buying signals based on shared and posted online content. Understanding these buying signals can help sales professionals target relevant prospects and help marketers run micro-targeted campaigns.

Engagement Advertising and PR

Social media in business allows anyone and everyone to express an opinion or idea somewhere along the company’s path to market. Through social networking sites, brands can have conversations and interactions with individual followers. This personal interaction can instill and strengthen brand loyalty amongst followers and potential customers. Thus, each participating customer informally becomes part of the marketing department, as other customers read their comments or reviews.

Facebook and other social networks are often used to tune into customer conversations and quickly flag customer service issues and concerns. However, these conversations can also be repurposed across other social media and corporate channels. Brands often use social media to transform customer comments and testimonials into relevant and compelling content for personal selling, advertising, and other promotional tactics. Listening to social media “chatter” also helps companies stay in tune with public sentiment about their brand. By tracking and analyzing conversations on social media, public relations professionals can catch problems early and prevent negative publicity from turning into full-blown crises.

This engagement process is fundamental to successfully integrating social media into a company’s marketing communications strategy. Organizations can use social media to cost-effectively increase communications across the promotional mix, fostering brand awareness and, often, improved customer service.


In recent years, social media in the classroom has become a valuable pedagogical medium.

KEY POINTS

    • Twitter, blogs, facebook, and other sites are structured to encourage collaborative discussion and creative thinking outside the confines of the classroom.
    • Furthermore, social media is not only a tool for students, it can also allow for teachers to develop their own educational content, connect with other educators around the world, and help new teachers find jobs via networking sites such as LinkedIn for teachers.
    • By bringing social media into the classroom, teachers can develop these networks in ways that can positively impact the learning environment of their students.
    • Facebook is an example of another potentially useful tool for teachers in educational contexts.

TERM

  • social media┬áSocial media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks

Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people, companies, and other organizations to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures or videos in virtual communities and networks.

In recent years, social media in the classroom has become a valuable pedagogical medium. Twitter, blogs, and other sites are structured to encourage collaborative discussion and creative thinking outside the confines of the classroom. Furthermore, social media is not only a tool for students, it can also allow for teachers to develop their own educational content, connect with other educators around the world, and help new teachers find jobs via networking sites such as LinkedIn for teachers.

Social Media Revolution 2

 

By bringing social media into the classroom, teachers can develop these networks in ways that can positively impact the learning environment of their students. Student blogs, for example, are ways in which teachers can encourage students to collaborate on projects outside of the classroom, develop critical thinking and writing skills, learn to express constructive criticism, and foster an online learning community that allows students to individually express their creativity and thoughts in a virtual social forum.

Facebook for teachers is an example of another potentially useful tool for teachers in educational contexts. It supports the integration of multimodal content such as student-created photographs and video and URLs to other texts, in a platform that many students are already familiar with. Further, it allows students to ask more minor questions that they might not otherwise voice in class: and therefore it can function as one alternative means for shyer students to be able to voice their thoughts in and outside of the classroom. Furthermore, the level of informality typical to Facebook can also aid students in self-expression and encourage more frequent student-and-instructor and student-and-student communication. Facebook can, therefore, be an effective platform for teachers to engage students of all learning speeds outside of a traditional class environment.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

TED Talk: Creating Opportunity through the Sharing Economy (Lyft)

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