Jun 9, 2012

Social Media does Count in Business

A few weeks ago, after the group research presentation, I was asked a question about whether the traceability system in a food supply chain made financial sense. And the answer was yes not only because it could minimize negative impacts of food safety issues, but also because data collated through the system would be utilized so that more efficient coordination could be achieved. In either aspects, the key were shared information and relationships among the chain participants. Given the time constraint, Hamish (our lecturer) didn’t go further about ‘How?’, but I was prepared to touch on social media.

According to Kimball and Rheingold, when we encounter a problem, basically we need to first:
  1. Find out ‘who knows who knows what’ in order to ask questions.
  2. and then,
  3. Prepare a legitimate reason for the people who know the answer to share it.
These are where the value of our social capital is to be tested. If we share norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness in a given network, we will find solutions quickly. The richer our social capital, the more efficient problem-solvings.

Remember, the central thesis of social capital theory is ‘relationships matter’. And what we do with various social media is all about connections/relationships. Therefore, online social networks, which are inherently worldwide and more sophisticated means of networking, can globalize and accelerate both processes in problem solving. This is just an example of why social media does matter for businesses, but tells us a very strong bearing.

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