Social Media Shapes Up As Next Analytic Frontier

In keeping with our recent Lunch & Learn sessions about the use of social media in organizations, comes this timely article about the growing impact of these media on business operations.

“Print advertising is down, digital advertising is up and social media is emerging as the hottest hot spot in online marketing.”

“The stakes in this market are growing. U.S. advertisers will spend more than $2 billion on social media sites this year, up 24% from 2010, according to research firm eMarketer. It’s a small but fast-growing slice of total spending, compared with magazine and newspaper spending in the U.S. pegged at $38 billion and all forms of online advertising totaling $28 billion last year, according to Winterberry Group figures.”

The challenge lies in monitoring and responding to the  various social media fora for customer feedback.  This article discusses some new tools being developed and used for this purpose.

Social Media Shapes Up As Next Analytic Frontier — InformationWeek.


Some White House records may not be preserved

This article is timely indeed, given the Lunch & Learn sessions that my colleague Sandra Toze and I have been giving over the past two weeks (Using social media to leverage corporate intelligence and tacit knowledge).The article deals with the challenge of preserving records generated by social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter.  Technically, any posts associated with a corporation’s social media site could be considered business records, and thus subject to the company’s retention and disposition policies.  As the article points out, however, controlling these records becomes difficult if people access and post to these corporate sites via personal devices.  Of course, the other side of the argument is the matter of what to keep, as it’s doubtful that all of these social media records have any long-term value.

The Associated Press: Some White House records may not be preserved.


Professors With Personal Tweets Get High Credibility Marks – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Interesting study into the impact of social media on education.  The article doesn’t go into depth about research methodology, of course, so the results need to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, but it certainly raises some interesting questions.  I have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and FourSquare accounts, as well as this blog, so I’m obviously comfortable with using social media, although I still am very conscious about posting personal information, particularly on Twitter, where you can’t control easily access to your tweets.  I’ve always believed in maintaining a line between your professional and personal identity with students, as I think it’s dangerous to get too personal when you have to evaluate people’s work.  I was raised in a very formal learning environment where the roles of the participants were very clearly delineated; I actually appreciated that structure, as you knew where you stood.  In graduate programs, particularly in a smaller School, the lines between student and faculty can get quite blurry; should we be in a rush to blur those lines any further, I wonder?

Professors With Personal Tweets Get High Credibility Marks – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Social connectivity of LIS students

I have been rather surprised over the past two years by what I perceive to be a lack of social connectivity amongst a number of LIS students. By social connectivity I mean students who are not only aware of a variety of social media tools, including social cataloguing and bookmarking sites, but who actively use them. It’s a little disconcerting when you realize that you are often the most socially-connected person in a room of students; granted, I am not perhaps the best example, since my use of social media is probably rather above average, but given the age ranges of many of our students, I would expect a higher level of awareness and use of these tools. I wonder to what extent our frequent discussions of the importance of privacy deters many of our students from using these tools.

It’s a potentially difficult tightrope we walk across as instructors. On the one hand, we need to discuss the importance of privacy and the integrity of our personal information, and highlight the pitfalls of many social application sites; on the other hand, it’s important that our students be not only aware of these technologies, but also use them effectively. I’ve heard from a number of employers that one of the first things they do with a candidate is to determine his or her social presence; a lack of such a presence can be seen as a detriment, since it may suggest that the candidate is not engaged in social technologies. I certainly think that one can maintain a degree of privacy with respect to social application tools and, perhaps more importantly, exercise proper good sense and discretion in what information to post in such applications.

Do we go too far, perhaps, in discussing the dangers of breaches of privacy to the point where we create a culture of near paranoia? I think it’s important that we include in these discussions the question of risk assessment: Do the gains I achieve from using social tools outweigh the potential of privacy breaches? How likely are these breaches to occur? Are such breaches more likely or dangerous than, say, handing over your credit card to a salesperson at the desk, who could quite easily take note of the number and expiry date and use them? What is the balance amongst efficiency, convenience, and privacy?