Jul 22, 2017 Research papers

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?

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The Internet as Social Media: Connectivity and Immediacy



The Internet as social media: connectivity and immediacy



In July 2009, a musician named Dave Carroll was traveling with his band from Toronto Canada to Nebraska somewhere, much like many millions of other folks have done. Looking out the window the plane, however, Dave noticed that the United Airlines baggage handlers were, to put it mildly, failing to treat his rather expensive guitar and a number of other musical instruments belonging to the band with suitable care, preferring instead to sort of fling them through the air into the cargo hold. Dave pointed out to the UAL cabin attendants that this was not likely to be of significant benefit to the instruments` health, but was told that nothing could be done and he should simply sit down and be quiet. Upon arriving in Chicago, Dave determined that in fact he had been right, and his $2,400 guitar was now $2,400 worth of rather expensive kindling. He pointed this out to the United Airlines staff at the time, and suggested that perhaps some compensation might be in order. United Airlines, in the best bureaucratic tradition, took almost a year to conclude that its folks certainly hadn`t done anything wrong, that Dave was probably just being excessively picky, and that they weren`t about to pony up anything. After all, weren`t they a Fortune 25 company engaged in a conflict with one rather slender young musician? It seemed like a classic application of the business motto once attributed to the old monolithic AT&T: “We’re the phone company…we don’t care. We don’t have to.”


Back then, that worked. In fact, it still does, a lot of the time; money and power still convey a lot of advantage. But here’s where things get interesting. As a practicing musician, Dave was well aware of a recent phenomenon known as YouTube—a strange sort of Internet place where you could essentially tack up as many electronic versions of “95 Theses” as you wanted to, allowing some creativity, some luck, and something called “viral video” behavior to be leveraged on occasion into something quite unprecedented. Let’s start by watching what Dave posted:


Carroll, D. (2009) United Breaks Guitars. Music video posted to YouTube. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo&feature=channel


Now lots of people post things on YouTube, and most of them don’t go anywhere. But here’s where it got different in his case; for reasons known primarily to the gods of the Internet, Dave actually did “go viral”—accumulating well over a million hits in fairly short order, rocketing to the top of the charts (to date, almost 10 million hits overall)—and, in the process, vastly confusing United Airlines by creating a highly visible public relations nightmare out of what ought to have been a minor transaction, and also causing the whole IT analysis profession and assorted professors of business to suddenly take seriously the possibility that here was a tool that just might have the potential to bring about a whole new kind of customer relations management. Here are two more videos featuring experts probing at this rather simple case for deep lessons:


Milliken, J. (2010) Brands and Social Media Participation; United Breaks Guitars. Coreographytv. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNpry5iSTBo&feature=related


Owyang, J. (2010) Social Media, Crisis & Reputation Management. Coreographytv. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43-7gDTk49k&NR=1


Dave has even achieved the ultimate B-school immortality—being made into a Harvard Business School case! Here’s how the august professors are now phrasing the Lessons Learned:


Hanna, J. (2010) HBS Cases: United Breaks Guitars. Working Knowledge: Harvard Business School. November 29. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6492.html?wknews=112910


So what does this all mean? Is it just a cute little song that somehow made it big—the proverbial flash in a pan—or is it actually a vision of a new kind of relationship between companies and customers mediated by the larger world of social media? It could be either, or anything in between. One thing is clear, however—this could not have happened even as recently as 6 or 7 years ago. It`s probably equally clear that we`re going to see a lot more of it—and we`re going to see a lot more things like this using tools and technologies that are today still barely on the drawing boards, if they`ve even gotten that far out of the heads of the smart 12-year-olds who are going to be billionaires before they need to shave.


There`s a lot more out there in the optional and supplemental readings as well as the wide wonderful world of the Internet to give you a feel for the nature and effects of social media in business; the more widely you can spread your own information gathering net, the more effective your analysis is likely to be. Your own social media experiences are likely to be useful sources of information as well.


When you believe you have a reasonable feel for how social media are affecting business, you`ll be in a position to prepare an effective short paper (or alternative—see below) on the topic:


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?


Special possibilities:


Since this is a case about new media, it’s only fair that you have some new media alternatives in dealing with it. So while you’re perfectly free to write the same sort of paper that you’ve been accustomed to writing (as described below in the “Assignment Expectations”), you are also encouraged to think about using some sort of more creative social media application in response. If I gave you all the possibilities, it wouldn’t be all that creative, now would it? But by way of stimulus, you might consider:

•A video essay and/or discussion and/or presentation made available through YouTube.

•Using a Facebook page or related approach to formulate your response, either alone or perhaps working together with some of your colleagues.

•Submitting your paper as a series of 142-character tweets through Twitter (see this module’s SLP assignment)—daunting as a prospect, but theoretically possible.

•Something else entirely.


An unspecified number of points may be awarded for creativity of presentation as well as quality of ideas – but the ideas have to be there first, even if the medium is the message.


PLEASE NOTE: You certainly do not have to use any of these alternatives; it`s perfectly fine just to write a paper as you are accustomed to doing. You won`t be penalized in any way. The alternatives are included here just to get into the spirit of the thing, if you happen to have a little extra time and a little extra tolerance for learning to use new tools under pressure. Please do not feel that you will be disadvantaged in any way by not participating in this strange part of what`s already a very unusual and experimental course!

The Internet as social media: connectivity and immediacyNameCourseInstructorDateTechnology is advancing at an alarming rate where businesses and other organizations are turning to them to get the vital information that is required to facilitate their activities in the best ways possible. The advancements in innovations and technology have led to the use of internet as a forum where cheap and quick information is obtained in the most convenient manner (Funk, 2011). It follows that the internet has enabled the electronics manufacturers to come up with gadgets that are effective in creating a platform on which businesses can seek vital information and also pass on information to the target audiences.Social media refers to tools and platforms that integrate the use of technology and social interaction where words, audio messages, and videos are used for various communication purposes. According to Girard & Girard (2011), these platforms include the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and MySpace among others where people and organizations interact within a short span of time. All these platforms are similar in the sense that they attract low-operating costs, and they lead to quick dissemination of information to target audiences.Businesses are relying on the social media to fulfill their informational needs to high traffic caused by these platforms. It follows that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are quite popular among people of various age groups thus offering marketers and other businesspersons enough platform to transact their activities. The presence of social media is quite essential in market analysis and sales forecasting activities among the manufacturing and other companies.Manufacturers can post blueprints of the products they wish to launch on the social media to get the views of the potential customers. The products in question are posted online so that their customers may have their views regarding their physical features, usage, quality, and durability ...

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