Thursday, October 29, 2009

Q&A on social networks and technology.

Since I wanted to get a different perspective from someone that I feel had a good insight in the area of social networks, technology and knowledge management; I contacted a mentor of mine, who is a librarian at Columbia University. I conducted a Q&A session and we talked about a lot of interesting topics related to social networks and the evolution of technology that I would like to share with you.

1) What do you think social networks are best used for?
a. There are a variety of social networks that are used by people, businesses, or for marketing purposes. I cannot really say that one is better than the other because each one is geared toward what the person is interested in and what they expect to get out of using it. For example, Twitter can be used for a political movement or to alert people where the food vendor truck will be today to buy your breakfast or lunch; therefore, people should investigate which site will best meet their needs before joining and contributing content on them.

2) How are social networks used for knowledge management (KM)?
a. Social networks can be used as a KM tool. Businesses can use it to distribute important information to their employees or alert them of an important announcement or events. Using social networks for KM creates a unique network for each organization. For example, if an organization is giving out seasonal and HINI flu vaccinations to their employees, they can post this information on their site to alert when and where they will have to go to receive the vaccination. This way, they will assure that everyone was informed.

3) What are your thoughts on using social network sites (SNS) for business or marketing purposes?
a. You have to be clever about creating a page for a business or marketing. For one thing, if you create a fan page for your business, you want people to relate to it. Also, you need to know who your audience is that your want to target, and make sure you are giving them interesting information because nobody will access it. One thing you have to be aware of is verification issues. Verification of a site or webpage is difficult and it is hard to determine if the person who is posting for a particular business is really an employee authorized to do this. Twitter has a verification award on their site that can be useful to know who posted the content. Some good Twitter feeds are from restaurants letting their neighbourhood residents know when they are offering specials or current events and this is useful to someone who likes to frequent their favorite restaurants. Remember that whoever is creating the content must be creative, but I have noticed that some people are not that good at it.

4) Do you think businesses can use social networking to enhance their growth and profits?
a. Businesses should be aware that many people have short attention spans; therefore, they need to know who is following them and why. They should think about these things before they translate it into a model that they plan to use and this is not an easy task. If a business is in doubt about what angle to take, they should consult an expert to give them some ideas on how to enhance their growth using social networks.

5) What social network sites do you think baby boomers are more attracted to and why?
a. Baby boomers, aged 50-60 years old, had an explosion on Facebook. There may be a variety of reasons why this happened. For exeample, if an incident happens that people can relate to they look for a way to express their feelings. For instance, when Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died recently, many baby boomers who grew up listening to Michael and watching Farrah on TV, may have related the news of their sudden death and started to think about thier own mortality. By joining Facebook, it gives them the opportunity to connect to people who have had the same experiences and thoughts about things like this. Most importantly, many people join to just stay connected to people who are familiar with their lives and their past, or to meet new people. Another factor to their attraction to certain sites can be related to their own temperament and interest.

6) Do you think that older adults find it hard to use this type of technology, and what do you suggest they do to feel comfortable using it?
a. It all depends on the person, not the generation. There are some seniors that are 90 years old that can search the web very easily, and then there are others who do not have any interest in it at all, even if they know what to do. It all depends on the person’s temperament and inclination.

7) Do you think social networking is bad for communication and why?
a. Social networks are great for communicating with people. It is the fastest way to contact someone and give them information or to just chat online. The only bad thing about it is that people slack off on their English grammar when they use these sites or when the text. They become very lazy and sloppy when they send messages, and sometimes you don’t know what they are trying to tell you if they are using too many acronyms.

8) Blogging – Are more people blogging and are adults blogging more, if not, why?
a. More people are blogging these days. Especially if they find a site that interest them and they want to make their comments, which can lead to them creating their own blog. Ultimately, you have to find something that really interest you, but you should keep the blog active by posting at least every two days, or it may become stale and uninteresting to people who have been following your blog. Another concern is finding interesting content for the blog. This takes time because if you are blogging for a business, and it must be for a specific reason or topic, you have to do your research and make sure that what you post is accurate and verifiable.

9) Where do you see social networking going?
a. I guess we will all have to wait and see how it evolves. For instance, Twitter was not that popular when it was first created and now there are millions of people who have joined. In fact, the number of Twitter users grew 200% from 2008 to 2009.

We ended this great conversation and I said to myself “welcome to the world of social networks and technology”! Above all, our children are learning at an early age how to use technology and they will be the ones who will advance the evolution of social networking so let's keep it moving.

Here are some more sites that were suggested for more information on social networking and technology:


1 comment:

  1. Social networks are very useful in many ways
    1. Forming groups for communication and support
    2. Interacting purposes
    3. Viewing topics of interest
    4. Business and marketing
    5. Sharing Informtion

    many more to list. Social networks are drawing the attention to all ages, not only the baby boomer generation. At Promotes successful pursuit of life goals. We all benefit through goal setting. Social networks is all about people connecting and sharing their life's visions and dreams.