Posts Tagged ‘social network’

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New Media Talk, Part 2 – Social Consumption

In New Media on November 25, 2010 by nickejones Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It is clear that the online social networks have a profound influence on the social and information retrieval activities. Content distributed on social network platforms is a unique model that challenges mainstream and traditional networks of communication.  Computer-mediated-communication (CMC) creates new methods of connectivity between individuals and groups. These networks have varied range between users, are centrally focused on individuals, and assign implicit online community roles. The social network facilitates the flow of information through direct and indirect ties and as a result defines how people acquire resources and information (Garton, 1997).  CMC plays a central role as an inter-mediator of information. Contemporary social networking platforms have rapidly grown because of their ability to effectively link individuals and groups of networks with one another –i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube. The efficiency of CMC enables users to be connected to a number of different networks defined by different relationships and different communication medium. These relationships or ties, identify new networks, thus CMC creates networks that aggregate shared resources and information (Craven & Wellman, 1973, p.g59). The increase of acquired users on social networking platforms fabricates more networks and groups of networks that therefore have increasingly prominent impacts on the acquisition of information and media content.

The ability to produce and reproduce content is also a factor that dramatically alters perceptions of new media. The format, the audience, and the volume through CMC channels are redefining media’s intention and application. The vast amount of content online is pressuring the efficiency of media distribution channels, substantiated by user expectations for the web to affiliate content with context. Social networks play a significant role in facilitating context. They do this by evaluating ties between people, groups, and pages. Social networks are described as entities in a network called ‘nodes’ and the connection between them called ‘ties’, representing a matrices that allows filtering content specific to an individual (Downes, 2005, p.416).  Haythornthwaite (2001) argues that there is a tendency for social networks to enhance the distribution of media but stronger ties within these networks remains centred on pre-existing local networks or affiliations; niche networks are often weaker ties in the network.  Conversely, Downes (2005) presents the studies of “six-degrees” network measurement (Milgram, 1967) revealing that there are only six steps in a network between every person in the United States (p.417). More so then ever, this network phenomenon is accurate but also applicable on a global scale using CMC networks ties which are both easy to create and effectively measurable.  Although this conclusion is justified, the effects of the “long tail”– many small elements of information that make up an equal or larger proportion of the Internet –require networks and ties to define relationships to niche content specific to the user. The accuracy of distributing niche content to specific individuals is highly valued during information retrieval process because of the volume of content that is available. Nevertheless, this retrieval process requires complex relational ties that leverage social network data.

Strong ties are of great relevance to social networks and the distribution of media on social networking platforms. Marsden and Campbell (1984) distinguish the combination of factors that distinguish ties in a network: frequency of contact, duration of association, intimacy of the tie, provision of reciprocal services, and kinship (p484).  Currently, this measurement of ties attempts to link the “social web” with content. Google, the biggest search engine on the web, bases its model on content-centric consumption. The shortfall of this model is that it neglects to meet the complex information retrieval process necessary to retrieve content in the long tail of the web. The social web on the other hand, adds user’s personal information as a variable in the search. The social web has supporters includes Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Facebook. Their partnership in October 2010 will enable Bing searchers to leverage Facebook profile ties to influence content retrieval; known as the user-centric model of content consumption (Oreskovic, 2010).

Browsing the web is not longer passive, user have participative roles on a websites; “individuals are now more apt to have their behaviours, likes, and dislikes automatically integrated in proprietarily databases” (Elmer, 2002, p.86).  The exploitation of this user data will significantly influence content that is distributed to the user and although the relational model is only in its early stages of implementation, the shear volume of activity that is recorded by social networking sites, generate opportunities to customise searchable content and media. The current social networking platforms are maturing rapidly as user acquisition is very high. Nevertheless, methods of transferring content are still primal as they are submissive in the online environment. Presently, social networks only marginally influence content distribution – i.e. Friend-of-a-Friend (FoaF), advertising, and recommendations.

Articles

Organisational pyramid – People, Process, and Social Office

In Enterprise2.0 on September 29, 2010 by nickejones Tagged: ,

Delivery of enterprise social software is a journey that involves a process of analysis, implementation and support. This framework is often forgotten as is the pyramid of organisation components which have equal weight on each leg to ensure that it doesn’t tipple over.

Each component, equally dependent, requires attention during the integration framework. Successful integration therefore requires understanding of the process and people to introduce new tools.

Process can refer to the current knowledge and communication management systems that are incorporated into business-as-usual activities. This is influenced further by company policies/standards and organisational culture. These can be measured through empirical research. This is a suggested method to help see where integrations issue could arise and could require attention. Mitigation strategies are common in for managing change but importantly, a perceptive that adoption requires support to alter old perceptions and reduce resistance to new structures and business processes.

People are part of the process and without tying to be too bias, they are the crucial element to successful adoption. Although they are evenly distributed in the pyramid, people are crucial because they are commonly forgotten in the implementation process. Sometimes management have a mindset that if the right process and tools are in place, the people will just adapt. This misconception will cause failure and resistance to changing processes. Therefore, continual support is necessary and should be delivered incrementally throughout the life of the project.

Finally technology suitability is important. This should be acknowledged in the analysis stage of the implementation framework. Common problem with introducing new technologies is that they’re introduced without removing old or redundant tools.  Adding another tool or introducing a system because you can doesn’t mean you should. People are an important element of the business, if not the most important. If they are supported by excellent processes and tools, the work production will flourish.

Technology – Social Office

Consider this, a technology with features that can be easily integrated into the work flow of an organisation and its employees. Sound good? Well then, meet Social Office. What is unique about Social Office is that it has supports the implementation pyramid in many ways that other tools choose to ignore. This is demonstrated by a few key aspects I see as fundamental to the introduction to enterprise 2.0.

  • No new email system
    • Email is one of those tools that some employees are very touchy about. People want to keep using email but what people don’t often realised is that email is a excellent communication tool but is overused by people for misguided purposes. For example: sending out a company wide message, or even a group message, or newsletters, could be more effective on another platform and reduce the overload of static email/ pushed information. Social Office relies on the Pull system of information, whereby people in their own time read about the company or their team’s process. This means it’s more transparent to the company and important information is not lost in the inbox.
  • Integration
    • Integration with the current company systems factors into the effectiveness of the implementation. Social Office has an excellent integration capability including Microsoft Office software which is fundamental to the systems document versions control, formatting, and efficiency to upload documents to the portal (Uses WebDev). Further integration can be seen SOAP, REST, RSS and other proprietary AIPs. These can be fundamental to the transfer of data from different platforms and allows for current data layer to remain rather than redesigning the entire system protocols.
  • Access controls
    • Fundamental in hierarchical organisational structures. Different information and content producing privileges can be allocated and this can be useful in avoiding employee spam or information sensitivity issues with clients.
  • Simplicity
    • The GUI has very simple design making it easy to navigate and effectively complete an activity.
  • Profiling
    • The social networking paradigm has raised some eyebrows across enterprise. Employees could leverage off these online networks and collaborate more effectively.
  • Auditing Performance
    • As it is important to monitor activities on these platform the auditing abilities of Social Office is a helpful feature.  There is great importance for implicit leaders to advocate social networks. Being able to recognise who is a leader and who is lagging in adoption is fundamental. Auditing not only can help the organisations see strengths and weaknesses, it provides management with the opportunities to connect weak adopters with strong leaders to enhance their experience and motivate them to improve. Monitoring these opportunities to link leader with slow adopters is fundamental to the support process.
  • Search/ tagging
    • To have an effective system it needs to be searchable. The tagging method is used in many areas but this could be a weakness as it is not scalable to large organisations. Tagging is more about trending topics. If the system could allow for custom tags for co-worker that is part of your network, this might provide more value. However, for a larger international company, this feature is unlikely to be consistently helpful unless users were clustered into divisions.

From this quick overview, it’s hard to put anything wrong by Social Office.  This tool has acknowledged the knowledge pyramid and many of its features support the organisation people and the processes.  The feature complemented with the support and end-of-life agreement (migrating future risk of cancellations) makes Social Office my pick for the semester for enterprise software most likely to succeed.

For an introduction into Liferay’s social text, watch the video below.