Task 1: Listen to the MP3 recording
You need to listen to the recording and then answer the review questions below. I will upload the audio
1. Why is using social media such a hit and miss event for almost every business?
2. Can you apply elements of relationship intelligence to using social media effectively?
3. Can the use of social media build positive or negative social capital, and why?
Task 2: Review your answers to Task 1 and the article by Kietzmann et al which will be attached. and then answer the three questions below:
This will build on your understanding of social media and how it can be used to develop networks.
Task 2: Review questions
1. How critical do you think it is for small businesses to utilise social media?
2. Are there any types of businesses that could survive and grow without using social media? Explain your answer
3. Do you think social media can build the same quality of social capital as face to face social interaction? Explain your answer.
Social media? Get serious! Understanding the
functional building blocks of social media
Jan H. Kietzmann
, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy,
Bruno S. Silvestre
Segal Graduate School of Business, Simon Fraser University, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1W6,
1. Welcome to the jungle: The social
Social media employ mobile and web-based tech-
nologies to create highly interactive platforms
via which individuals and communities share, co-
create, discuss, and modify user-generated con-
tent. Given the tremendous exposure of social me-
dia in the popular press today, it would seem that we
are in the midst of an altogether new communica-
The New York Times
recently hired a
social media editor (
offers a webinar on how the
church can use social media; and the Governor of
California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is on Twitter
with 1.8 million followers. Even Northwest Organic
Valley brand milk cartons now display ‘find, friend,
and follow us’ slogans. But unknown to many, this
Business Horizons (2011)
Traditionally, consumers used the Internet to simply expend content: they
read it, they watched it, and they used it to buy products and services. Increasingly,
however, consumers are utilizing platforms–—such as content sharing sites, blogs,
social networking, and wikis–—to create, modify, share, and discuss Internet content.
This represents the social media phenomenon, which can now significantly impact a
firm’s reputation, sales, and even survival. Yet, many executives eschew or ignore this
form of media because they don’t understand what it is, the various forms it can take,
and how to engage with it and learn. In response, we present a framework that defines
social media by using seven functional building blocks: identity, conversations,
sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. As different social media
activities are defined by the extent to which they focus on some or all of these blocks,
we explain the implications that each block can have for how firms should engage with
social media. To conclude, we present a number of recommendations regarding how
firms should develop strategies for monitoring, understanding, and responding to
different social media activities.
2011 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. All rights reserved.
* Corresponding author.
0007-6813/$ — see front matter
2011 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. All rights reserved.
landscape of social media sites and services started
forming more than a dozen years ago. For instance,
in 1997, the social network site Sixdegrees allowed
users to create profiles, list their friends, and add
friends-of-friends to their own lists (
Boyd & Ellison,
). Sound familiar?
There currently exists a rich and diverse ecology
of social media sites, which vary in terms of their
scope and functionality. Some sites are for the
general masses, like Friendster, Hi5, and–—of
course–—Facebook, which opened only 4 years
after Sixdegrees closed its doors. Other sites, like
LinkedIn, are more focused professional networks;
in fact, Facebook started out as a niche private
network for Harvard University students. Media
sharing sites, such as MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr,
concentrate on shared videos and photos. And after
a slow start in the late 1990s, weblogs (blogs) have
become very popular, because they are easy to
create and to maintain. Their authors range from
everyday people to professional writers and celeb-
rities. Today, the resulting ‘blogosphere’ of more
than 100 million blogs and their interconnections
has become an important source of public opinion.
There are even search engines, like Technorati, that
are dedicated to searching blogs. Similarly, with the
Digg, and Delicious (formerly known as Del.icio.us),
Most recently, the phenomenon of micro-blogging
focuses on offering real-time updates. Twitter has
2006. Today, more than 145 million users send on
average 90 million ‘tweets’ per day, each consisting
of 140 characters or less (
). These are
mostly short status updates of what users are doing,
sites. In turn, Foursquare ties these real-time up-
dates into location specific information by rewarding
users for ‘checking in’ to real sites at any location
With this rise in social media, it appears that
corporate communication has been democratized.
The power has been taken from those in marketing
and public relations by the individuals and commu-
nities that create, share, and consume blogs,
tweets, Facebook entries, movies, pictures, and
so forth. Communication about brands happens,
with or without permission of the firms in question.
It is now up to firms to decide if they want to get
serious about social media and participate in this
communication, or continue to ignore it. Both have
a tremendous impact.
For instance, when United Airlines broke Dave
Carroll’s guitar in 2008, it likely was not the first
time a musical instrument had been broken during
the course of a flight. It was, however, probably the
first time that the owner of the instrument recorded
a music video about the experience and posted it on
YouTube. The video, portraying United in a very
unfavorable light, went ‘viral’ and has been viewed
almost 9.5 million times (
other highlights, United Breaks Guitars was cited by
Time.com as one of YouTube’s best videos, and even
discussed by Wolf Blitzer on television’s CNN Situa-
tion Room. Such attention led to a brand and public
relations crisis for United, as the story was cheered
on by a global community of passengers who under-
stood all too well the frustrations of dealing with
airline service failures. United did not respond and,
to this day, an Internet search of the term ‘United’
returns Carroll’s damaging YouTube video link at the
top of the results list. This high profile example
illustrates how ill-prepared firms can be in dealing
with social media conversations about them. As BBC
Business Editor Tim
days, one witty tweet, one clever blog post, one
devastating video–—forwarded to hundreds of
friends at the click of a mouse–—can snowball and
kill a product or damage a company’s share price.’’
Although it is clear that–—for better or for worse–—
social media is very powerful, many executives are
reluctant or unable to develop strategies and allo-
cate resources to engage effectively with social
media. Consequently, firms regularly ignore or mis-
manage the opportunities and threats presented by
creative consumers (
Berthon, Pitt, McCarthy, &
). One reason behind this ineptitude is
a lack of understanding regarding what social media
are, and the various forms they can take (
). To help address this gap in knowl-
edge, we herein present and illustrate a honeycomb
framework of seven social media building blocks.
Utilized individually and together, these blocks can
help mangers make sense of the social media ecolo-
gy, and to understand their audience and their
engagement needs. In true social media fashion,
the origins of this framework can be attributed to
a number of bloggers: principally, Gene
of the Atomiq.org, who developed and combined
ideas discussed by Matt
Peter Morville (2004)
We have taken their ideas and advanced them in
four ways, each of which forms a part of our article.
, we explain how executives would
use the framework to understand the functional
traits of different social media activities, and dis-
cuss and illustrate the fundamental implications
that each block presents to firms as they seek to
fathom the engagement needs of their social media
J.H. Kietzmann et al.
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