An Overview of Social Media

An Overview of Social Media

Ela Ozkan-Canbolat (Cankiri Karatekin University, Turkey) and Aydin Beraha (Cankiri Karatekin University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch148
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1. Social Media And Historical Roots

Social media is currently a central concern for many business executives. Consumers who are using the Internet simply expend its usage content. They not only read and learn from it, but they also watch it and use it to buy products and services. Furthermore, consumers who utilize these platforms—such as content sharing sites, blogs, social networking, and wikis– also create, modify, share, and discuss Internet content progressively. As a consequence, social media becomes a phenomenon that impacts a firm’s reputation, sales, and even survival markedly (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre, 2011). Business managers, decision makers, and especially consultants endeavor to find ways in which companies can be more profitable by using web applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and others. Although there seems to be much effort to distinguish the borders of social media, crucial or even limited understanding of the term is lacking (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).

Social media consists of computer-mediated tools that people make to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures and videos easily and quickly. People not only reach these virtual communities and networks without difficulty and effort, but they can also reach them whenever they want. Social media enables companies to talk to their customers and enables customers to talk directly to one another. Although social media is accepted as a hybrid element of the promotion mix, the content, timing, and frequency of the social media-based conversations between consumers are beyond managers’ direct control. Thus, managers should use methods such as providing consumers with networking platforms and using blogs, social media tools, and promotional tools to engage customers (Mangold & Faulds, 2009).

Correspondingly, social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (Kaplan & Hainlein, 2010). There seems to be confusion among managers and academicians regarding how social media differ from the related concept of Web 2.0. Whereas Web 2.0 represents the ideological and technological foundation, social media differ in the degree of “social presence”. Social presence theory (Short, Williams & Christie, 1976) defined the concept as audial, visual and physical contact between two related and communicated actors through which they can mutually influence and impact. In other words, social media depends on a group of internet-based applications such as Web 2.0, but it should be developed and managed with respect to its social dimensions.

Furthermore, social media is related to mobile and web-based technologies that individuals and communities use to share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce common, substantial and widespread changes to communication between groups of organizations as well as organizations and individuals (Kietzmann & Hermkens, 2011). Social media activities occur in a dialogic transmission system (i.e., many sources to many receivers). This is in contrast to traditional media that operates under a monologic transmission model (one source for many receivers) (Pavlik & MacIntoch, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Trust: (In context of social media interaction) The belief in members of a website community in an online interaction.

Social Commerce: The integration of social media as a part of e-commerce platforms.

Community Interaction: To have influence on each other by communicating with people on social media.

Social Support: To provide information and emotional support for other members of a website.

Online Customer Communities: Communities in which people come together for an active engagement with the company on a regular basis.

Social Networking: To link people sharing mutual interests on the web.

Social Media Technology: System and service elements used by company operating on social media.

Social Proof: To show something is true to a member by sharing information, experience, etc. with other members of a website.

Social media: Computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures and videos easily and quickly.

Customer Designed Transaction: Transaction between company and customer based on member-created content on website.

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