Global Alliance Analysis
Social Networking at a Glance
Social Networking at a Glance
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEB SITES
Professor Elke M.Leeds
Kennesaw State University
Rie Suemoto, Margarita Baxter, Christopher Maselka,
John Bond, Germaya Williams, Students
Business Information Systems Management
Kennesaw State University
April 20, 2007
Letter of Authorization
BISM 2100 Students,
The purpose of this assignment is to expose students to emerging technologies and to
create an opportunity for students to utilize their professional written business
communication skills. This formal report will be coordinated with a digital video
presentation and an interactive web page to provide a bundled resource on this semester‘s
You are being asked to perform a detailed analysis of a product/concept in the area of
Internet Social Networking Web Sites. Think of how you would answer the question
―Why did Google just spend $1+ billion for YouTube?.
At a minimum, your report should include information related to the following:
Introduction to Social Networking Web Sites – What is a social network? What are
social networking web sites? What problem are they trying to solve? Who are they
intended for? How successful have they been?
Describe three different social networking web sites. Include who uses them, who
owns them and how they generate revenue.
Describe three areas of business where social networking web sites are being used or
could be used. The description should include the type of business, estimated revenue
and how successful it has been or its potential..
Describe any known issues surrounding these sites and how they are being addressed.
A conclusion summarizing the main points of the paper. Suggestions for future
research and investigation.
Use both commercial and academic resources (Minimum of 15 references – 3 must be
academic). Where appropriate, you should incorporate charts, graphs, or other visual aids
to illustrate the facts you present in your report. This report will be submitted to
turnitin.com – anti plagiarism detection software – please ensure that you cite your
resources appropriately, use quotations and page number references for quotes and
internal citations (Author, Date) for paraphrased content.
Your managerial report must be submitted through WEBCT. (One student per team must
submit a copy of his or her team‘s output through WebCT). Employ all facets of
effective business writing and refer back to your text (Chapter 9, Completing Formal
Business Reports - pages 1453 – 1466) for the Formal Report Structure.
Letter of Acceptance
1000 Chastain Road,
Kennesaw, GA 30144
April 20, 2007
Elke M. Leeds
Professor, BISM 2100
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road,
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Dear Professor Leeds:
We would like to thank you very much for the opportunity to work on this project on
social networking websites.
Global Alliance consists of five members with different cultural backgrounds. Rie
Suemoto is the project manager. Chris Maselka is the website coordinator. Margarita
Baxter is the research coordinator. John Bond is the presentation coordinator. Germaya
Williams has chosen to be the formal report coordinator. We are excited to work on this
project and to learn from it.
We are delighted to accept this assignment and to complete it. We understand the
assignment which you explained in the letter of authorization. The formal report and the
web page will be completed and submitted no later than April 20, 2007. The video
presentation will be submitted before 5:00pm on April 27, 2007.
We are looking forward for the challenges that we will be experiencing through
completing this assignment. Again, we are very grateful for being able to work on this
project. If you have any questions or concerns regarding to this assignment, please feel
free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-478-9706.
Letter of Transmittal
1000 Chastain Road,
Kennesaw, GA 30144
April 20, 2007
Professor Elke M. Leeds
Business Information System Management 2100
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road,
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Dear Professor Leeds,
Enclosed is our formal report on social networking websites. Global Alliance has
completed our formal report as requested.
Social networking websites have become extremely popular in the past decade. Global
Alliance has carefully researched the different types of social networking websites that
are commonly available among today‘s internet users. We specifically researched how
different types of businesses utilize social networking websites, and there affects on them.
This report describes both the negative and positive side of social networking.
We would like to thank you for giving us this wonderful learning opportunity and we
hope you will be pleased with our report. We are looking forward to working with you in
Global Alliance‘s mission is to inform people about social networking websites by
composing a professionally organized formal report. Also, the team will create a well
developed website along with an attractive video presentation which will accompany the
The team‘s objective is to accomplish the research and the presentation of social
networking with a professional business manner. Our team will accomplish this task
through cooperation and team work. The goal is to excel in this assignment.
The Global Alliance team will conduct research about internet social networking
websites. The research will include the following: to research and introduce what social
networking is, what social networking websites are, what problems they are trying to
solve, who they are intended for, how successful they have been, three areas of business
where social networking is being used and describe any known issues surrounding these
social networking websites. Our team will use both commercial and academic resources
to obtain valuable information. The team will also ensure that we cite our resources
appropriately, use quotations and page number references for quotes and internal citations
for paraphrased content.
Decision making will be a process of voting and counting the majority. If a situation or a
conflict arises, we will also take a vote and decide on a solution that is agreed on by the
majority of the group.
Meeting attendance policy and schedule
All group members are expected to attend the group meetings regularly. We expect all
team members to be on time for all meetings and to be prepared for discussion.
The following is the tentative meeting schedule:
Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 3:30pm
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 at 6:30pm
Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 6:30pm
However, in case of emergency, another group member must be notified and the material
needed for the discussion must be sent to another group member prior to the meeting so
we may be able to perform the meeting as planned. Each team member will be
responsible to complete and perform the work assigned, even if any missed meetings
occur. In addition to scheduled meetings, any member of the group can call a meeting if
needed. Besides team meetings, our team will communicate through email, the WebCT
team discussion board, and by mobile phone. The WebCT team discussion board will be
used mainly for submission of work.
Preparation and quality
Each team member is expected to perform his or her own task which is assigned by the
team. However, if a member needs help with completing the assignment, he or she must
inform other team members two days in advance before any deadlines. Other members
will be open to provide help to another member if time permits.
Quality is the degree of excellence. Everyone on the team will strive for genuine quality
work as a team. The team will submit this project with professional prose, clarity, and
concise work. Completed work must be submitted to the team, not a work in process.
This allows for peer review of the work and easy fixes if there are any corrections or
improvements that need to be made. Global Alliance will have the team review of the
final submission of the document a week in advance.
Non-performance and peer-review
Each team member is responsible to complete assignments on time. He or she is expected
to work equally on the assignments, to carry their own weight, and do what is assigned by
the team. Everyone must pitch in and have a say on the final product that is submitted. If
a team member fails to meet the required work for their portion of the project, a
deduction of 3 project point will be made. Bonus points will be given to those who
perform beyond their team project roles. If all team members work equally, the bonus
points will be evenly distributed to all team members. Each team member is expected to
peer-review for other team members. In the peer-reviews, meeting attendance, meeting
assignment deadline, quality of work provided, and cooperation throughout the project
will all be considered.
Outline project requirements
Collecting Resources - Our team will be collecting academic and commercial resources
which will be used to write the individual part of the formal report.
Web page – The team will construct a team web page which introduces the team, a brief
biography of each team member, and which roles are performed by each team member.
The web page will also display the team logo along with a professional web layout.
Formal report - writing the team‘s formal report is a collaborated effort from all team
members. The formal report includes information about social networking websites, what
they are, who uses them, different types of businesses that use social networking web
sites, any issues surrounding these sites and suggestions for future research and
Digital Video presentation – A video presentation of the formal report will be constructed
in efforts to recreate a live presentation. The digital video coordinator will be responsible
in choosing an appropriate setting to film the presentation. Moreover, the coordinator will
be responsible for editing and drafting the video presentation for submission.
Schedule of deliverables (Work breakdown structure)
Margarita Baxter, Research Coordinator, is responsible for collecting academic articles,
writing abstracts, and linking resources as well as assisting team members with their
Christopher Maselka, Web Site Coordinator, is responsible for coordinating with team
members on page layout, design and style, creating, editing, linking and uploading the
Germaya Williams, Formal Report Coordinator, is responsible for taking the research
provided from the Research Coordinator and creating an outline of the formal report. She
will integrate portions of the written report from each team member and will
communicate frequently with the Project Manager and Research Coordinator for
John Bond, Digital Video and Presentation Coordinator, is responsible for organizing the
digital video presentation. He will choose an organizational pattern for the presentation,
will assign roles to team members based on their areas of expertise, structure the
introduction and conclusion, and set rehearsal times. He is also in charge of choosing a
setting for the presentation, scheduling camera checkout, coordinating a production
schedule with team members, shooting the video footage, editing the digital video as well
as submission and publication via WebCT VISTA.
Rie Suemoto, Project Manager is responsible for communicating and coordinating with
the team. She will participate in each of the deliverables while coordinating meeting
times, communication, and assignment submission procedures. She is also in charge of
constructing a timetable for the project and submitting the formal report to turnitin.com
with the time for revision. She will take ultimate responsibility for the timely completion
of each related project.
Project due dates:
* April 1, 2007 Completed baseline of Research sources to Research Coordinator
*April 8, 2007 Individual report sent to Formal Report Coordinator
*April 15, 2007 Formal report/Web Page group deadline for team review
*April 16, 2007 Formal report submission to writing lab
*April 20, 2007 Formal Report/Web Page submission due to WebCT VISTA
*April 17, 2007 Filming the Video Presentation
* April 18, 2007 Start editing the Video Presentation
*April 27, 2007 Video Presentation Submission due to WebCT VISTA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................... XII
SOCIAL NETWORKING AT A GLANCE ............................................................. 1
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1
WHAT IS SOCIAL NETWORKING? .................................................................... 1
WHAT PROBLEMS ARE SOCIAL NETWORKS TRYING TO SOLVE? ............. 2
WHO ARE SOCIAL NETWORKS INTENDED FOR? .......................................... 3
HOW SUCCESSFUL HAVE THEY BEEN? ......................................................... 3
EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES ........................................ 4
FLICKR.COM .............................................................................................................................................. 4
MYSPACE.COM ......................................................................................................................................... 5
LIBRARYTHING.COM .............................................................................................................................. 6
AREAS OF BUSINESS THAT USE SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES.......... 7
ADVERTISING ............................................................................................................................................ 7
FINANCE .................................................................................................................................................... 10
ISSUES SURROUNDING SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES ....................... 10
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..................................................... 11
Online social networking has developed into a world of its own. People continue to use
social networking websites as a means to stay informed and connected to other people.
These websites provide people with the opportunity to send messages, pictures, join
various interest groups and clubs. Social networks have not only impacted people‘s
personal lives, but they have also improved various areas of business.
Social networks have tremendous success online but have also created problems in levels
of security and safety. Social networks continue to act as a social gateway to share and
communicate in our ever advancing technological world.
SOCIAL NETWORKING AT A GLANCE
These days, with the use of Internet technology, people can make connections much
easier and faster then ever before. These connections can be made for various reasons.
Social networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube have lately become extremely
popular thus allowing people to chat, meet new friends, share ideas, photographs or other
interests. Without a doubt, this interaction is becoming a new way of life for people to
stay connected. Therefore, online social networks are changing the way people
communicate and interact socially. In order to understand this booming phenomenon, it is
important to get a deeper picture of what social networking is and why it is becoming so
WHAT IS SOCIAL NETWORKING?
Social networking is the 21st century phenomenon. Social networks can simply be defined
as a personal or professional set of interactions between individuals. These networks
serve as a wonderful tool for people to communicate and to form various kinds of
relationships with each other. The Internet provides people from all over the world access
to social networking web sites. For example, someone in the United States can easily
develop an online friendship with someone in Australia through an online social
networking web site. The first social networking website was Classmates.com, founded in
1995. Currently it is one of the leaders in online social networking with more than 30
million adult registered members (Goldsborough, 2002). Since 2003, social networking
web sites have been growing at a faster pace than ever before. Social networks can be
divided into basic categories such as common interests, dating, and business relations
(Barrett, 2006). Some of today‘s most popular social networking web sites are MySpace,
Facebook, Friendster, YouTube, and Classmates.com. In these online communities,
members create profiles where they may provide personal information, photographs, and
their personal interests. However, social networks are not only used to make online
friends or develop online relationships, but for a host of business purposes such as
marketing, finance or sales. Companies advertise their businesses by selling products or
offering various services. One of the ways that companies can promote online business is
by using an online social networking web site. As an example, successful Web-based
companies, such as eBay and Amazon, have established profitable business
models. Without a doubt, social networking sites are becoming such a huge trend and
continue to attract a great number of people around the world.
WHAT PROBLEMS ARE SOCIAL NETWORKS TRYING TO SOLVE?
Social networking comes in many forms and for various purposes. These types of
networks work and continue to shape the world we live in. Of course, with the good
comes along the bad. Although there are millions of positive social networking groups,
there are also social networks that engage in illegal activities. However, focusing on the
positive aspects of social networking, many problems are solved using this tool. In
general, social networking brings people together for many reasons. Whether branching
out to meet new people, or to develop strong ties with business relations, social
networking continues to help solve many of the problems the world experiences day in
and day out through the internet.
From a political standpoint, social networking may be used to help public management
problems. Starting there, social networking also helps coordinate economic, political, and
social action (Raab & Milward, 2003). For instance, the president of the United States
uses social networks, especially during his campaigning, to address certain issues and
forms a plan in aiding those issues. ―It is usually argued that networks, compared to
hierarchies, are a better solution to solving nonroutine, nonstandardized, or evil structured
or wicked problems‖ (Raab & Milward, 2003). On the other hand, businesses and online
social networks are working together in international trade to overcome trading barriers.
―Two important areas of research on business and social networks in international trade
are: the role of intermediaries who can connect foreign agents to domestic networks and
the ability of transnational production networks to facilitate technology transfer‖ (Rauch,
2001). This is an example of how business relations are formed and maintained through
online social networking
In general, social networking through internet web sites is used in solving an array of
things. There are many websites dedicated to bringing people together whether they are
strangers, friends, or business associates. These online social network sites range from
aspects of dating websites to conducting e-commerce in various forms, such as email. The
internet has allowed social networking to really blossom. Nothing else can overcome
distance, time barriers, and eliminating the use of paper as instantaneous as the internet.
Social networking online has also branched into the educational world. For instance, take
a person who has a family and a full time job that wants to earn a college degree. Where
would they ever find the time to balance these things with going back and forth to class?
This is nearly impossible. Luckily, due to the technology of online social networking,
people can now take online courses through schools, much less earn a bachelors degree
strictly over the internet.
WHO ARE SOCIAL NETWORKS INTENDED FOR?
Social networking is intended for people with a need or wants to communicate. It is for
people who want to meet new people and stay connected with friends, to share pictures,
videos or any other computer file type that can move across the web. Millions of people
use MySpace.com, Friendster.com, and Facebook.com to communicate with friends. Sites
like Flickr.com and Shutterbug.com are used to share photos. Social networking websites
also aid employers in finding new experienced employees or the other way around, for
people to find a job easier. Social networking is also intended for sellers who want to
keep in touch with their buyers efficiently.
Social networking is also being used by those who one would never expect. For example,
the Saugus Union School District in Santa Clarita, California uses a social networking
application designed by James Klein. This allows teachers to post videos, blog, share
files, and podcast, which could help improve the teachers‘ curricula (Glitten, 2006).
Companies such as Turner Broadcasting and Procter & Gamble have been making their
own communities and social networking sites. Procter & Gamble uses social networking
to find out more about their consumers. In addition, Intuit has developed a social network
site, JumpUp.com, which allows entrepreneurs to share ideas and help each other out
(Rosenburg, 2007). Turner Broadcasting, along with others such as CBS and NBC, use
social networking for individual shows like CSI to keep fans connected (Claburn, 2007).
Even Presidential candidates have been using social networks to boost their campaigns.
Senator Barack Obama and John Edwards both use YouTube and MySpace to create
awareness, and they also have blogs on their own sites (Havenstein, 2007). Social
networking is used in unexpected and possibly unwanted ways. Al Qaeda, for example,
has been using social networking sites like MySpace for training, communication, and
planning purposes (Debat, 2006). The bottom line is people use social networking for
means to communicate, whether it is for social wants and needs, entertainment,
educational, or business purposes.
HOW SUCCESSFUL HAVE THEY BEEN?
Social networking web sites have completely changed the way people communicate and
socialize with one another. Social networking web sites have attracted the attention of
millions of people across the globe from all races and ages. People can stay connected to
family, friends, business partners, and other various interest groups with a click of a
mouse. Social networking web sites have been expanding rapidly online since 2003
(Barrett, 2006). The success of social networking web sites is primarily due to the
massive amount of online membership and usage by people on a daily bases.
In our society, time is of the essence, and people no longer have the time or the patience
to sit down, write a letter, and mail it through the U.S. Postal Service. Instead, people
create messages on a computer and post them in there recipients inbox online. The ability
to use the internet not only as a search engine but also as a communication tool has
become very popular. Many participants have grown accustomed to the online world and
enjoy all the services and opportunities it provides. The success of social networking web
sites has not only captured the attention of average teens and college students but also
various areas of business are now trying to tap into its growing success. Companies are
marketing their products and services on social networking web sites. Banks are now
providing online banking to its members. Social networks have also become critical new
channels of media distribution (Rayport, 2007). Users can acquire information about any
and everything from the latest fashion brands to what type of car insurance is most
effective through their social networking web sites.
Online social networks are effective, time efficient, and relatively inexpensive for its
users. Social networks keep the windows of communication open among people. Such
web sites that have been created around a central theme and convey some sort of
voyeuristic appeal have attracted the most success online (Barrett, 2006). Members enjoy
the ability to stay connected to one another and experience some level of thrill or
excitement within the process. Social networking sites provide users with the ability to
explore the world around them and meet new people online. The success of social
networking web sites continues to increase in membership and in revenue for its owners.
EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Flickr.com is one of the most popular photo-sharing websites. It allows users to upload
pictures they take with their digital camera or cell phone camera. Flickr also allows users
to share their photos with everyone in the world and leave comments, notes, and tags on
the photos which make their photos easier to find (flickr.com, 2007). Aside from
uploading their own photographs, users can participate and communicate with others in
this photo sharing website by leaving comments or notes on other members pictures too.
According to Flickr.com, their website is a place to store, search, sort, and share photos. It
was originally created by Stewart Butterfield and his wife Caterina Fake on February
2004 (Quittner, 2006). Katharine Mieszkowski, a senior writer for Salon.com, explains
that there were more than 176,000 members with 2.2 million photos on the website, and
growing at rate of 30,000 pictures a day, in the year of 2004 (Mieszkowski, 2004). The
number of users grew tremendously in 2 years. There are 3 million users, with 130
million photos posted, by May 2006 (Quittner, 2006). The photo-sharing website was
doing so incredibly well that after only one year, Yahoo decided to acquire Flickr at the
cost of thirty million dollars (Quittner, 2006). After the transfer of ownership in March
2005, new members of Flickrs are required to create Yahoo IDs.
Members do not have to be experts at professional photography to use Flickr. In fact,
anyone who can use a web browser and has the ability to upload pictures can become a
member of the Flickr community. People of any age can share pictures with friends and
families. In return, friends and families can view and leave comments on posted pictures.
Flickr also has a feature that will let users determine the level of privacy on each photo.
This privacy setting gives users control over who has the ability to view their posted
pictures. Currently, over 80% of all photos in Flickr.com can be viewed by anyone
The only effective way Flickr.com generates revenue is to sell premium subscriptions to
its members. Stewart Butterfield, one of the founders of Flickr, called subscriptions one
of the more ways Flickr will make money in the future (Carlson, 2006). According to
Flickr.com, a Flickr Pro account, which gives users unlimited picture uploads, costs
around twenty five dollars per year. Erick Schonfeld, the writer for CNN Money, stated
that such user fees account for 13 percent of Yahoo's revenues (Schonfeld, 2005).
MySpace.com is the third most viewed social networking site in the United States, and
the fifth most viewed in the world, according to Alexa.com. MySpace.com is the place to
meet and make friends. Users can create a personal webpage that can have personal
profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos. The profiles can contain personal
information such as race, religion, age, your interests, and even very personal information
such as if one is a smoker or drinker. Users can blog on their page and also add images or
video. There is also a section for the user‘s friends to make comments. Each MySpace
page can show up to twenty-four ―top friends‖ with links to their own webpage. Users can
easily create a layout for their webpage. MySpace pages are in HTML format only.
MySpace.com is founded by Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson in July 2003 and was an
immediate success. What helped make their success and was new to other social
networking sites, was allowing musicians to promote their music on MySpace.com from
the start. MySpace.com allowed bands to upload music so that consumers can download
the songs easily. Millions of musicians and artists today have a MySpace page to promote
their music (Krantz, 2006).
Seeing this success, News Corporation bought MySpace.com and its parent company
Intermix Media, Inc. for $580 million. Last year, MySpace averaged 31.5 billion pages
viewed per month and had about $90 million in ad sales. That seems like a lot of money
but News Corp was expecting more. Jessica Cohen from Merrill Lynch & Co. predicts
that MySpace will get $271 million in ad revenue and will make its first profit in 2008.
MySpace is getting older and web pages viewed in March 2007 were up 79% from March
2006. But as MySpace gets older, it seems that the customers are getting older too. 41%
of the people who use MySpace are over the age of 35 compared to last year where it was
only 35%. This means that companies who advertise mostly to the youth crowd are going
to be less attracted to advertising on MySpace (Grover, 2007).
One known problem with MySpace and similar social networking sites is sexual
predators. In October 2006, it is known that over 700 registered sex offenders created a
MySpace account according to Wired News. MySpace, aware of the issue, has now
allowed profiles to be only viewed by people in your friends list and is required for users
under 14 years old (Florip, 2006). It is easy to make a personal webpage on MySpace,
which can be a problem. Sexual predators make false web pages to attract younger teens.
MySpace does plan to do something about it with tracking software called Zephyr, which
allows parents to see what their children do and who they associate with on
MySpace.com, but it will not compromise the child‘s profile or any communication that
is password protected. Right now, the software is in development and is planned to be
released summer of 2007 (Bernstein, 2007).
Sexual predators are not the only problem MySpace faces from easily designing a
personal webpage, but because it is so easy to use, PC World, in September 2006, has
named MySpace.com the worst website being ―poorly designed and counterproductive‖
(Tynan, 2006). Another issue with MySpace has been that spyware is becoming more
frequent on social networking sites. In August 2006, Webroot, an anti-spyware vendor,
found 527,000 malious websites and that 89 % of consumer PCs have some type of
spyware on them. Home PCs, on average, contains 30 spyware programs (Hesseldahl,
This site is for people who want to keep a personal online book catalog and for those who
want to meet others with similar collections. Librarything.com allows people to catalog
there books and keep track of them over the web and also allows you to find others with
the similar book collection and join groups (Rethlefsen, 2007). One can make his or her
collection private or open for anyone to see. Unfortunately, there is no in between,
whereas someone can not make his or her collection only available for a few people
(Metz, 2006). The site can also give recommendations on what books to read from
looking at one‘s book collection or from just one book (Rethlefsen, 2007).
Books can be added to the personal collection by using the title, author, or an ISBN.
Sources come from the Library of Congress, Amazon, and over 70 other book catalogs
around the world for catalog records and cover graphics (Bates, 2006). Once the books to
user‘s collection, the user can organize his or her collection by author, title, tags,
publication date, or even by how many other people using Librarything.com have the
same books as you do. The user can also view various statistics such as how many others
own the same book and the average publication date (Bates, 2006).
Librarything.com allows users to tag their books anyway they want to. Tags are usually a
word or phrase to categorize books, usually by the subject of the book. Majority of library
catalogs are tagged but on Librarything.com, users can tag their books any way they want
to. For example, if one looks up The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, it will show
you a variety of tags used for this particular book and the number of times used
Librarything.com was founded by Tim Spalding. Originally, the site was for a few
academics to catalog their books but saw its potential when people started putting their
book collection on the site and sharing recommendations with other people. In the
beginning, the site was self-funded but that was not sufficient for growth. In May 2006,
Abebooks funded the site, buying 40% of the company. This allowed Spalding to add a
few more employees and add more servers. Today, the site is funded by membership fees
and a very small portion from books sold on Amazon.com (Rethlefsen, 2007). Users can
pay a $10 for a yearly membership or $25 for a lifetime membership and it allows them to
donate more if they are generous. Users can register on Librarything.com and use the site
for free but it limits the user to 200 books in his or her collection.
Librarything.com can give users suggestions on different books that they might like to
read based from the books in their collection. Not only can Librarything.com suggest
what books one might like from his or her collection or just a single book, but it can also
suggest what books he or she wouldn‘t like. From suggesting what the user does like, it
will give the user suggestions on books that other people have in their collection along
with books with common tags and what Amazon.com recommends. Librarything.com can
also suggest what books users would least likely want to read. It does this by finding
books that would least likely be in the same library of the book you used.
AREAS OF BUSINESS THAT USE SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Businesses are now tapping into the online world to advertise their products and services.
In today‘s modern age of ever-advancing information technology, businesses do not have
a localized point or location. The global network enables businesses to communicate
faster and more efficiently with other business partners in present day markets at a speed
that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago.
Social networking websites post ads for their members which reach a greater number of
people and can be seen as a form of mass media. Online advertising helps businesses sell
their products and services to consumers, who have also had a tremendous influence on
the success of certain products. Consumers may leave product reviews on purchases made
online and share the information with others. Some examples of successful websites
include Amazon.com, Ebay, and BestBuy.com.
The world of marketing grows by the day. First, to understand how marketing relates to
social networking, one must understand what marketing really is. ―Marketing is an
organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering
value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the
organization and its stakeholders‖ (AMA Adopts, 2007). After reading this definition, it
is clear how social networking ties directly into a marketing aspect. For instance, a great
way to expand a business‘ marketing through social networking is scheduling dinners or
some sort of gathering. This creates a setting for personal contacts to be made in order to
gain trust and expand network ties. The dinner allows people to exchange numbers or
business cards for future contact. ―Give them a call to ask them if they are interested to
widen their business on the internet and work something out from there‖ (How to Market,
Online social networking is the latest and greatest way for making contacts. Again, as
mentioned previously, the internet is the only thing that can eliminate time barriers,
geographical regions, and is a way to send and receive information to a limitless amount
of people instantaneously. From a business standpoint, a vision or goal is in need to
determine what direction one wants to take with social networking. Bobette explains,
―Do you want to gain exposure for your product,
band or company? Are you looking for potential employees
or contractors? Do you want to get prospects interested
enough to visit your Website or contact you? Your goals
will dictate what you put on your profile and social
networking home page as well as who you look for to
become part of your network‖ (2007).
Once these decisions are made, a business should consider what social networking
websites it wants to advertise on.
Another advantage in marketing with social networking websites is contacting a variety
of people with all different kinds of pull. With social networking, a business can not only
establish a solid customer base but also make contacts with other people in the industry
and other organizations to interact with and possibly cross – promote with. It always
helps to know a few people in a variety of places who can help from a marketing aspect.
After a business gets a lot of good exposure, one can decide who he or she wants to
continue business with, and who they do not want to continue business with.
Moreover, ―Sites like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster are establishing new paradigms
in how people get information about products and services‖ (Organ, 2007). The cliché
―It‘s not what you know, it‘s who you know‖ is more important in the marketing aspect
of social networking than ever before. However, there can be a few drawbacks with this
social networking. ―The problem is using personal referrals to gain access to senior
decision makers‖ (Organ, 2007). The CEO of a major company is not likely to just accept
and/or answer incoming emails from unknown sources. This situation usually occurs
more often in a business to business relationship, rather than a business to consumer
Marketing and online social networking work hand in hand to shorten the sales process
and increase total revenues. ―Business social network applications help identify the right
targets, while demand-generation technologies help develop, qualify and manage the right
leads‖ (Organ, 2007). Even though online networking is such a powerful force, it does not
completely terminate the standardized face-to-face meetings. Now, the key in the online
marketing business world is to find a happy medium between these social networking
techniques. No form of technology can ever replace the face-to-face interaction between
Another great form of fast and readily available information, usually provided for
consumer use, is the idea of online mailing lists. This too enables a company to email
every person on the list who wishes to receive information about the company. Not only
can a company provide updated information on a regular basis, but the company can also
receive feedback from it‘s consumers about things they are doing a good job of and things
they can work on improving. The sooner a company can find out what they lack or need
to improve on, the sooner a company can suffice a customers needs. There is no reason
for a company to not jump on this bandwagon.
A huge portion of marketing is research. Research of customer preference, behaviour, and
data based off of statistical information are very important to a company‘s marketing
department. Recently, a company was developed in aiding marketing research by making
customer interaction more involved than ever before. ―Communispace is an up-and-
coming hotbed of resources for both large and small businesses‖ (Karimi, 2006). This
newly launched company provides unique private communities for customer interaction.
This allows a company to create an online community. Having this type of space for a
company‘s customers to come together and discuss things about the business is the ticket
for marketing research. ―Customers can be tracked, analyzed, and understood in-depth
from a Communispace community‖ (Karimi, 2006). This new marketing tool can help
provide vital information for decision makers in a company and possibly promote new
customer behaviors. Marketing research through this new form of social networking is
able to produce accurate and valuable information for companies‘ future decision making.
Business marketing and social networking has boosted many businesses to the forefront
of their industry. These two tools have really set the stage for business expansion and
have also helped establish long friend and business relationships. Online social networks
possess a unique presence that is constantly renewed by user generated content, which
promotes and maintains customer interest and loyalty (Carter, 2006). As previously
mentioned, online social networking is a great way to make contacts and gather statistical
information that can be used for many aspects of marketing. ―Serious marketers should
pay close attention to the business social network phenomenon and consider jumping on
the bandwagon early, while the novelty of the approach generates above average returns‖
(Organ, 2007). Overall, social networking and business marketing is a recipe for success.
Over the past decade, the use of the Internet has expanded dramatically. The explosive
growth of the Internet has revolutionized the operations of many business industries,
including the financial services industry. Just in 1990, banking on the Web was not
possible. By 1995, only one financial institution offered some banking abilities on the
Internet (Dandapani, 2004). However, now online banking is a typical activity among
many people. Such interaction takes place simply through a bank‘s web site. Thus, many
customers have adapted to online banking services since Internet banking websites
provide secure services such as statements of bank accounts, balance enquiries, fund
transfers, account/bill payment options, and check book requests among many other
activities. More complex financial operations - such as applying for a loan, paying a
mortgage, or trading stocks can be performed through these web sites as well. Without a
doubt, online banking is becoming more and more popular. As a result, in 2006, 40
million households in the U.S used online banking systems (Kandra, 2006). Banks are
giving their customers incentives to go online since most of the banks offer well-
developed services that in most cases are free of charge. It is significant to note that, ―the
Internet is the least expensive retail delivery channel available for financial services‖
(Dandapani, 2004). The success of online banking is convenient and affordable. Internet
banking offers significant revenue potential for the bank. For example, normally it costs
just one cent for a bank to perform an e-transaction. In comparison, an ATM transaction
costs 27 cents for a bank and $1.07 for a teller-window transaction accordingly
(Dandapani, 2004). Nowadays e-commerce is imperative for businesses. Therefore, it
seems reasonable to conclude that the use of online banking will continue to grow in the
near future and it will depend greatly on the development of Internet technology.
ISSUES SURROUNDING SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Many reasons exist to use caution when accessing social network websites. Most of these
sites allow people to post personal information online for others to view. The problem
occurs when this information falls into the hands of potential stalkers, pedophiles and
other types of online predators who may target teenagers and young adults (Vernon,
2007). Teenagers and young adults, however, are not the only ones targeted by online
predators. The popularity of social networks has caused a tremendous increase in the
number of activities in which adults participate online. According to one source, ―Adults
who use social networking sites may be putting themselves at risk, and may be placing
their businesses and places of employment in harm's way‖ (Computer Associates, 2006).
Providing one‘s personal and business information online allows hackers the potential to
acquire this information and use it for their own benefits.
Online users are also engaging in other risky behaviors without being aware of the
potential dangers. These risky actions include ―downloading unknown files and
responding to unsolicited emails and instant messages, all of which may lead to identity
theft, computer spyware, viruses, and other risk‖ (Computer Associates, 2006). However,
the level of risk when using social networking web sites has not suppressed online
membership and participation.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Social networking has had a tremendous impact on the way people communicate with one
another. The ability to write a message and receive a direct response in a matter of
seconds has become a normal way of life. People from all ages and backgrounds may
find a place in the world of cyber space. Social networking has provided people the
ability to express themselves and explore various opportunities to connect with new
contacts. People can create individual profiles; post photos, send messages, join in on
online chats and groups, and send messages to other members. The possibilities are
endless on social networking websites. The popularity of social networks continues to
grow and thrive online.
The use of social networking in the areas of business continues to improve and provide
new opportunities for a business to succeed in the world‘s ever-advancing technological
job market. Businesses have infused several social networking techniques to
communicate with their employees, partners, and customers.
Although social networking is a fairly young phenomenon, it continues to rapidly grow
into the future. People of all ages will assumingly be attracted by social networking and
its benefits. Without a doubt, the success of social net working websites is convenient and
reasonably affordable. In the near future, many will see the rise of community sites
focused on particular interests such as gardening, cooking, golf, cycling or other interests.
For future research and investigation one may examine information provided by social
networking websites. People may also log on to popular websites such as Myspace.com
or Flickr.com to experience the action of social networking. An individual may also
perform further research by searching the Internet or talking with local businesses to
determine exactly how they are tapping into the online world. In addition, technological
advancements in social networking occur daily. Problems that already exist in online
social networks such as sexual predators, hackers, or various types of spyware continue to
be present. However, our team feels that these problems will progressively deteriorate as
time goes on. In return, online social networking will hopefully become a safer place to
communicate and interact with others.
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