Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings. Social media use the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner.
Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, mashups, RSS, pictures and video. Technologies such as blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, group creation, voice over IP, to name a few.
Examples of social media applications are Google (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook(social networking), Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking), Wikis: Wikipedia (social advertising) · MySpace and Facebook (social nertworking) · Twitter and Pownce (presence apps)· CareFlash (health apps)· YouTube(video sharing) · Second Life (virtual reality)· Upcoming (events) · Mixx and Reddit (news aggregation) · Flickr and Zooomr (photo sharing) · Justin.tv (live casting) · del.icio.us and StumbleUpon (social bookmarking) ·World of Warcraft (online gaming) · Miniclip.com.(game sharing)
A number of characteristics distinguish social media from traditional media such as newspapers, television, books, and radio. Social media mainly depends on interactions between people as the discussion and integration of words builds shared-meaning, and this is supported by technology. Social media utilities create opportunities for the use of both inductive and deductive logos by its users. Claims or warrants are quickly transitioned into generalizations due to the manner in which shared statements are posted and viewed by all. The speed of communication, breadth, and depth, and ability to see how the words build a case solicits the use of rhetoric and increases efficiency.
Using social media, a CEO can be confident of being in touch with his employees whenever he/she has anything important and urgent to communicate with them. For example conference meeting alerts and updates, distribution of assignments in a more effective way than having to call employees to his office which wastes a lot of time and creates commotion around the premises with movement up and about, social media is becoming increasingly popular because it enables employees to share information with anyone at any time. An absent employee can download the podcast of a recorded meeting he missed and get abreast with the developments at work.
Interestingly, there's an intriguing concept behind social media applications/technology--think of all the workers who pull data from sources inside and outside their companies. “Mashups provide one interface where employees can get multiple data streams that can be changed to present new types of information” Mary Hayes Weier, making supervision less necessary. A CEO will find that he/she can easily access and share very important data from different sources without having to waste time visiting independent websites. “When connected to converged IP networks, employees can continue to work from almost anywhere, and can connect on the move using VoIP and IP VPNs”. Companies are struggling to integrate mobile applications with existing IT infrastructure in order for informal knowledge sharing between remote workers to be maintained and to make it less necessary for employees to congregate and dedicate their time to other important matters. “By exploiting mashups, situational applications, Web 2.0 techniques and lightweight data access, new breeds of Web-based applications and services are being cobbled together fast, cheap, and without undue drain on IT staffs and developers. Tools and online services both are being used to combine external web services like maps and weather with internal data feeds and services to add whole new dimensions of business intelligence and workflow automation, often in a few days, often without waiting in line in order to get IT attention”.
Studies have shown that the more forward-thinking people in It departments realize that the faster they can put together publishable data content, they can get a deeper understanding in a very short time about what their customers want. They can then go back and decide the best way to open up that data. Is it through syndication feeds, XML, or programmatic API? That’s what a lot of Web 2.0 and mashups are about — new avenues for communication, where you can be engaged and you can look at information and how you can put things together. And it has the right costs associated with it — inexpensive
Social media applications among other things give employees a wider spectrum of knowledge since it promotes easy sharing of knowledge and information, CEOs will find that their employees are working faster and more efficiently. Needless to mention that the working relationships between the employees and also with the administrators can be monitored and where need be improved since there is constant contact and a sense of belonging given the fact that anyone can contribute what they think is useful for the corporation. For example distribution public safety messages, audio reports on official and unofficial tours, etc might end up being useful to employees and may even save the corporation some unforeseeable costs.
In schools for example podcasting can be a tool for teachers or administrators to communicate curriculum, assignments and other information with parents and the community.
In situations where some employees may have some grievances or may want a change in some policies in the corporation but are afraid to openly express themselves for fear of being singled out, CEOs may find it useful to employ social media in order to get to know what their employees want and then decide whether it is possible or not to implement change for a better working relationship. Blogs may come in handy in such situations as they are more accepted these dats as sources of news, opinion and means of applying pressure on authority “A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog…. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blog”s.
With the increasing competition among corporations to employ the best candidates they can get their hands on, CEOs must embrace advancement in technology because the best employees out there given the chance to choose who to work with will definitely choose an organisation they feel is up to date with technological advancement. Social media solves this dilemma CEOs might find themselves in because for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site's email newsletter hence many employees will feel obliged to join such a team as opposed to one that is not advancing in technology.
Another social media application is wiki.This software allows users to create, edit, and link web pages easily. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. These wiki websites are often also referred to as wikis; for example, Wikipedia is one of the best known wikis. Wikis are being installed by businesses to provide affordable and effective Intranets and for Knowledge Management. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work". (Wikipedia
A prospective corporation would definitely want such a system for itself to improve efficiency
In fact, social media applications can no longer be over looked by those running corporations if they (CEOs) are to remain competitive and efficient. It is now difficult to run any corporation efficiently without employing social media effectively and this is going to be more of the case in future.