Understanding social media

September 11, 2011

Thanks to an eminently useful blog post on the London School of Economics (LSE) web site entitled ‘Social media is inherently a system of peer evaluation and is changing the way scholars disseminate their research, raising questions about the way we evaluate academic authority’ I was referred to a recent paper by Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre from Business Horizons (2011) 54, 241-251 .

Whilst the blog post to some extent reflects the work I have been doing by using social media as a research implement, and part of which I’ll be covering on 15 September 2011 at the Ethicomp 2011 conference, whilst focusing on ‘The Ethical Aspects of Employing a Weblog in Research’, the paper referenced looks to social media in the round for all business, not particularly government. However, given the ongoing debate about the value and use of social media in government, the proposition is highly appropriate.

The model consists of seven social media building blocks constructed into what Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre describe as the honeycomb of social media. These two sets of seven-celled honeycomb describe ‘social media functionality’, along with ‘implications of the functionality’. As Hermida states these ‘building blocks’ offer a good starting point to consider the impact of activities as part of academic research, but I’d suggest these seven have a further application in the governance arena and I look forward to experimenting with them.