Sunday, February 5, 2012

Net Geners + Social Media

Social media are shaping the active minds of consumers and consumer demands are actively shaping social media. Indirectly, this symbiotic process is impacting what these consumers demand from the business sector.

According to Don Tapscott, “Net Geners (Generation Y) are the smartest generation ever," contrary to the claims that video games, Facebook and constant text-messaging have robbed today’s young of the ability to think.

Net Geners want entertainment at play in their work and education and they love to collaborate. They expect everything to happen fast. And they expect constant innovation.

So why are businesses refusing educate themselves on or at least acknowledge social media as a business force? The issue here is the metaphorical fissure that cuts deep between the lines of old and new business practices.

These businesses must learn to redefine what they desire from social media, and distinguish opposition from competition. Businesses must not look for profits as the sole gain form social media and look towards customer retention and marketability.

Social media bring about many unconventional businesses practices that companies need to understand. Instead of asking what social media can do to create profits for their company, they must ask what social media can do for their customers.

In order to remain profitable they must satisfy the ever-changing market demands and “avoid being swept away by the sort of generational tsunami that helped Barack Obama beat John McCain” (The Economist).

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Smartest Generation Yet

Social media (plural) have not improved or eroded our basic skill set; they have only made it easier to communicate (which most people seem to struggle with). More importantly, there is no dark side to enabling tools that enhance society— there is only unbounded growth.

Mark Bauerlein, Emory University, argues that social media have essentially brainwashed the NetGeners into becoming the "dumbest generation yet." Bauerlein goes on to exclaim how “digital natives […] are using technological advances to immerse themselves in a trivial […] online world at the expense of more enriching activities – like opening a book or writing complete sentences."

I am not one to put down one of my own elders here at Emory, but Professor Bauerlein fails to understand that social media are far from “trivial” and the definition of “enriching activities” is evolving with the growth of social media.

Unlike TV’s push strategy, which allows most viewers to “zone out," the internet uses a pull strategy that demands human interaction. Social media provide efficient means for the collaboration of these enriching activities: filtering headline news stories (RSS), creating web-based encyclopedias (Wiki’s) or building personalized web pages (SharePoint).

Professor Bauerlein’s near-sighted point is reiterated when the absence of these “enriching activities” are presented to parents in “Set childhood Free ‘Where to Keep Your TV and Computers.'" The author points out that toys, arts and crafts, music, books and games must be separated from social media in order to enhance youth and build the family bond.

The internet and social media aren’t jeopardizing family bonds; they are only providing efficient vehicles for bringing the family closer.

Any evidence that supports the notion the social media are eroding morals or degrading skills is purely circumstantial. Social media are only enhancing personal skills and facilitating the correction of questionable morals. Social media are catalysts for the collaborative advancement of society as a whole and trying to regulate or screen them only impedes social progress.

The “experts” who argue that this progress is trivial or “damaging to the youth” fail to realize that they are about to be left behind completely on an immense social movement that began to build momentum a few decades ago and is building up speed with each passing day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recruiting "Gamers"


Pronunciation: \ˈgām\ Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English gamen; akin to Old High German gaman amusement Date: before 12th century

2a -- a procedure or strategy for gaining an end

[Hopefully] every business model serves some type of purpose for gaining an end. Be it profit, market share, customer satisfaction, etc., they all represent a basic end. The means for achieving these desired ends normally include a particular procedure or strategy.

Business goes hand in hand with these advanced games and advanced strategies. In order to achieve the desired metric, one must continually hone the particular skills inherent to this "game".

Games are inherently fun, “Old High German gaman amusment” but, can you have fun and learn to achieve this end at the same time? Virtual games are used train pilots and even managers [Simulearn’s vLeader 2007]. This allows users to learn skills from games, while remaining safe from real-life consequences.

Simulation is the key to simultaneously having fun and learning. Wil Wright’s success in the gaming industry illustrates how much fun humans enjoy simulating or, in effect, playing God and then enjoying the positive and negative consequences [Will Wright talks ‘Spore,’ ‘Sims,’ science].

These simulations are applicable to business forecasting and turning traditional business functions into fully collaborative and open-sourced projects would be beneficial to all aspects of a company. Turning mundane tasks into enriching media experiences could improve worker efficiency and keep them focused.

Luis von Ahn’s successful implementation of ESP Gaming demonstrates the particularly addictive personalities of gamers like me and our natural desire for competition. [Computer Scientists Pull a Tom Sawyer to Finish Grunt Work].

Successful businesses identify, foster and retain talented employees. Identifying “gamers” is crucial to making a functioning business “game” a success. In order to foster and retain these employees the business must cater to the “Gamer[‘s] Disposition” as well.

The Wii Fit shows just how turning a boring task like exercising into a fully-functioning game has a tremendous impact on society [Nintendo Hope Its ‘Wii Fit’ Works Out]. If a social game can entice one of the fattest countries in the world to start working out the possibilities are endless.

All in all, social gaming as a business solution is a vastly untapped resource. Countless man hours are lost every year to employees “playing” solitaire and snood. If a company could translate these lost hours into a functional activity it could help them two-fold.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Corporate Muzzle

High-ranking executives need to understand how social media can help handle a company’s reputation and, conversely, damage its reputation. More importantly, this new understanding must also be effectively communicated to all employees. When is comes to divulging company secrets or exposing internal issues a company must possess stringent and visible guidelines for handling social media.

On October 31st, the Virgin Atlantic airlines fired 13 of its cabin crew who had posted critical comments about its safety standards and some of its passengers on a Facebook forum. They joked that the cabins were infested with cockroaches and regarded some of the passengers as “chavs," a British term for people with flashy bad taste.

Attacking these customers online is a public-relations disaster that raises questions of whether Virgin Atlantic had done enough to educate staff about acceptable use of the internet.

Businesses that learn to harness the proper use of social media externally and internally can thwart competitors who lack the necessary understanding. Businesses failing to understand in invest in social media risk extinction.

The rise of Facebook and other social media like MySpace and Twitter make it all the more important to reiterate online guidelines frequently, because, as mentioned before, these social media can amplify the effects of rumors and negative press.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Can You Harvest Sociability?

Since the advent of modern agriculture, up through the invention of the plow, and ultimately the use of genetic engineering in plants, the definition of a “skillful” farmer has evolved with respect to technological advances.

The use and development of technology serves as an appendage for our human evolution. In 1900, the average life expectancy of a white male was 47 years old and by the year 2000, that number climbed to 75 years old.

What distinguishes mankind from most other animals is our distinct ability to manipulate and use tools. We may not be showing any physical signs of evolution, but through the use of such tools, we have carefully crafted our environment to live longer and healthier lives.

This cultural debate exposes society’s opposition to change and more importantly, its lack of understanding of social media itself. We must evolve our perceptions and definitions of “skill” and look at the world around us under a new scope.

Social media enhance the growth of mankind through increasingly efficient means of building community and facilitating collaboration. There exists a Newtonian balance between the discussions of social media: for every so-called “expert” that condemns social media’s moral and intellectual shortcomings, one can find another “expert” who equally and oppositely praises social media’s limitless rewards.

This cultural debate exposes society’s opposition to change and more importantly, its lack of understanding of social media itself. We must evolve our perceptions and definitions of “skill” and look at the world around us under a new scope.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Blog or not to Blog

Company blogs, another staple of social media, keenly illustrate the triumph of new-age wisdom over conventional business practice and the demand for integrity and openness. Old-age business practice would state that any negative comment left on a company’s blog space is harmful and that deleting such feedback will prevent further damage.

In all reality the sheer presence of negative feedback on a company’s website delivers the transparency and integrity that consumers demand today. Better yet, responding to such feedback and fixing the problem gives the company even more affinity.

Equally important is wielding such social media expertise on the development of a company’s image on other websites: Ben Worthen, in "How Can a Company Protect Its Reputation on Websites?" points out that is better to “confront accusations head on”.

A company should respond on the site explaining how they will fix the problem and above all a company should never ignore false rumors. Addressing such a rumor ASAP is the key to curbing the amplification of negative information on other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Ultimately, all the suggestions mentioned above illustrate how companies can benefit, and indirectly profit from the use of social media. There is much more to a given business’s success than the bottom line. Sustainability, growth, market-share, customer satisfaction can all be influenced by social media.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Social media will live longer than your Tamagotchi

Social media are here to stay. No debate. Furthermore, social media in the business world can not be treated as passing fads (See: Furbies or Tamagotchi’s). Social media aren’t cute and fuzzy pets that can simply be toyed around with. Collectively, they are a gigantic elephant in the corner of the board room -- an elephant that is changing the nature of markets and ways of doing business.

Many executives refuse to acknowledge this proverbial presence because they do not understand nor do they see the profitability of social media; however, for future generations, social media will continue to shape and re-shape markets, and businesses failing to understand in invest in social media risk extinction.

Did You Know 2.0, reminds us all that what took radio thirty-eight years to reach 50-million consumers took television thirteen years and the internet only four. We live in exponential times where technologies are outpacing businesses that don’t have their metaphorical fingers on the pulse of their respective markets.

Mistakenly, companies once banned programs like Facebook and AIM because they were viewed as inefficient, but as we can see today, the efficiencies of social media are bringing communities together through communication and collaboration — never before has media content been created and consumed so rapidly.

This slow-paced, traditional thinking will be the downfall of businesses as this hybrid community, or metaverse, passes them by. Workers and businesses alike must learn to think and work differently to change with technology instead of after it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wiki Wild Wild Web

Collaboration is the essence of sustainability and growth through increasingly efficient means of combining both new and familiar relationships. At the center of this collaboration is the concept of community.

Both virtual and real-life communities thrive as an entity because a large input of resources from smaller units working together. The merger of human and technological collaboration has paved the road to a more efficient workplace as well as a new hybrid community with endless possibilities.

Because today’s growing markets love to collaborate, businesses need to adapt to their evolving customer base. The use of wiki’s is important in catering to this demand.

Progressive IT groups now create tools for users to solve IT problems of their own. They provide portal software and wikis to build web-based applications and offer advice in blog posts, how-to forums and podcasts.

Social media not only expedite the help process for customers, they also allow the IT staff to devote time to larger projects instead of the repeated, mundane tasks. Wiki-technology is built upon and advances because of collaboration.

Companies can tap into their customers’ talents by providing wiki-based FAQ’s that build off similar responses and best solutions. Customers feel involved and thus innovative in their use of wiki’s.