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Trends in Technology Essay

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Trends in Technology Discuss the phenomenon of electronic social media on the way we do business and the way we socialise Word Count: 1819 Discuss the phenomenon of electronic social media on the way we do business and the way we socialise Electronic social media has revolutionised the way individuals socialise in an age where computers and the internet have become a part of everyday life. Social media can be considered an instrument of communication, in other words it is a website that provides information and allows for interaction.

It has become an increasingly popular tool with teenager and adults, not to mention businesses looking to benefit from the social networking world. Social media is a development of traditional forms of medium such as newspapers, where you can read the articles but are limited in opportunity to voice opinions. Electronic social media can allow users to have an input and voice comments. Social media can also help you stay in touch with people around the world. Users can communicate in different ways; they can talk online to other users who are active, users can post messages and share photos, as well as sharing video clips.

There are different forms of social media websites, which serve its own purpose. Social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively (Antony Mayfield, 2008). Social Networking websites allow a user to create a profile and interact with friends that join their network. Social networking has fast become a popular pass time, with users logging into websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. Users join groups and discussions to voice their opinions on common interests and have the opportunity to interact with others from different networks.

Members that are added as friends can comment on pictures, send private messages and engage in live chats with friends. Wiki’s are another form of social media, they can be described as websites that allow users to create, edit and share information about a subject or topic, e. g. Wikipedia. Other forms of social media are video sharing, picture sharing and online gaming. Video sharing and viewing has become very popular. Videos are uploaded by users for others to view and comment upon, YouTube has become one of the world’s most popular websites for video sharing.

YouTube has approximately 100 million video views a day (Antony Mayfield, 2008) such is the popularity that it has also become a tool that businesses use to gain exposure at a more cost efficient way. Although social media is very popular, there are many dangers to the users that embrace this technology. This section will look into the potential dangers to users of electronic social media. ‘Cyber crimes’ have unfortunately become very common, with many fraudsters and hackers looking to take advantage. People who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are running the risk of being the victim of identity theft.

According to The Times there is a willingness from the younger generation to disclose personal data over the internet which gives “cybercriminals the information they need to create spoof identities, gain access to online accounts or infiltrate employers’ computer networks” (The Times). Users leave personal details on their profiles which are publically available for others to see, e. g. Name, Address, Date of Birth and email addresses. Some users even disclosed their mother’s maiden name, which is often requested by websites for security purposes to retrieve account details.

A potential scammer will have sufficient information to create phishing emails or malware targeted at individuals or businesses to guess passwords and impersonate the user. According to Cifas, the fraud prevention service, there were 40,000 cases of identity theft in 2007 which costs the UK ? 1. 5 billion a year (The Times, 2007). Worryingly Identity theft is not the only dangers that face social media users. With many children browsing the web, there is a constant concern from parents wanting o know who their children are talking to.

Most of the social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo have a minimum age limit to prevent young children from making profiles. However it is easy for them to fake their age online to create a profile. This opens a risk to young children who are naive to potential predators that may lie about their own identity and pose a threat to children. Businesses also have a potential risk from using social media sites. Firms use Facebook and other sites to brand and market themselves. Marketers have increasingly begun to experiment with trying to reach the members of social networks. Antony Mayfield claims “…

MySpace has seen a rush of marketing efforts from Toyota to the US Army. ” Using Social networking sites to do this allows companies to connect with customers in a non formal manner, but this could also leave them susceptible to hackers. It could also offer a platform to generate negative comments that could the damage brand of the company. Another risk associated with social media is that almost anyone can find out what an individual has been doing. This can become a potential problem when employers start looking online to find an employee or potential employee has been partaking in activities that can tarnish the image of the business.

This could result in the employee losing their job or a potential new employee not getting a job as a result of their profile pictures and tagged photos. A survey conducted by Microsoft last year revealed that 70% of top organisations in the UK research their applicants online. One of the ways in which the risks of social media can be surmounted is to be a lot more vigilant as an online user. Simple steps can be taken to prevent identity theft, for example, a profile can be set to high privacy to prevent unwanted users from viewing personal information. Users should not post online their address, date of birth and phone numbers.

Young children should be constantly monitored by parents, to ensure that they are not interacting with unknown profile users. It could also be prevented by parents blocking social networking sites from young users. Social media is an entity that is hard to be ignored with so many people actively using this technology. There are individuals who like to use the social niche of the web, and those that do not have time for such added distractions. But with so many people actively using these sites it almost becomes peer pressure to jump on the social media bandwagon.

With this much attention it can be very hard for individuals to ignore social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. By not embracing the social media an individual misses out on opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Social networking sites allow users to have real time chat with friends, as well as finding old friends that users may have lost contact with over time. It gives users the opportunity to communicate with either friends or family regardless of their geographic location. The popularity of social networking sites has now made them increasingly attractive to businesses.

Facebook currently has over 500 million users and there are a lot of possibilities for organisations to gain mass recognition. The underlying factor is to establish a brand and build a relationship with the audience. Companies use sites such as Facebook to market themselves effectively, by creating fan pages. In effect customers are leading their own branding campaigns (Fraser & Dutta, 2009). Coca-cola learned how a fan page of the company was created by two users who did not work for the brand; the fan page now has more than 3 million fans (Fraser & Dutta, 2009).

The two that created the fan page were contacted by Coca Cola and a deal was struck to co-create the page. Blendtec, a Kitchen appliance maker is an example of how a company used social media to spectacular success. The Marketing Director of Blendtec launched a video campaign known as ‘Will it Blend? ’ The video was low budget and posted on YouTube, the video became a massive hit worldwide, resulting in blender sales to quadruple (Fraser & Dutta, 2009). Although there has been staggering success that social media has produced for businesses, there have also been failures as well.

As easy as it is to market and promote using social networking sites it is just as easy to create a poor image of the company online. It only takes one negative comment or mistake to create bad publicity. Social networking sites such as Twitter has been unintentionally misused to taint a business’s reputation. Chrysler Groups, an automobile company was put under the spotlight when an employee from their social media agency unintentionally made inappropriate comments via the Chrysler brand Twitter handle. The employee was dismissed, and the company was left feeling the embarrassment.

More recently Sony has reported that credit card and personal information from PlayStation users could have been stolen by hackers (BBC). Sony has since been forced to shut down the PlayStation Network, disconnecting 77 million users from the online gaming world. According to Sony steps were taken to enhance security and strengthen the network. This is a huge failure in social media and has shone an undesirable spotlight on the PlayStation brand. This could result in Sony losing the faith of if its loyal customers.

The future of social media is bright and experts predict it to continue to evolve. Businesses will continue to use popular social media sites for the foreseeable future, but according to Melissa Gonzalez the biggest change for social media would be to directly incorporate social media onto the corporate website. Businesses are likely to invest more time, effort and capital into developing strong social media campaigns to improve brand recognition. With video blogs becoming increasingly popular, it is very likely that companies will use video social media to increase their presence on the net.

Also by incorporating social media directly to corporate websites could encourage users to come up with ideas that organisations can take on board, It can make the user feel connected with the company. With technology increasingly improving social media will be affected. Google have developed Neven vision and using it for their Picasa site. This technology uses similar software that security and police use for facial recognition to catch criminals. This technology means that users no longer have to tag each photo as the pictures automatically detect individuals by recognizing the faces in the photos.

As this is newly discovered there is defiantly need for improvement, however this can have a huge impact on the future of social media (The Future Tools of Social Media). This essay has gone into detail about what social media is and how it can be used both for businesses and for individuals looking to socialise. Businesses have used social media to gain mass attention at little or no cost. Social media has no doubt had a huge influence in modern society, with many registered users to social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Social media has more than competed with the traditional means of interaction in a business sense as it is an easy and cheaper tool to use. Reference: Antony Mayfield. (2008). What is Social Media?. iCrossing BBC News. (2011). Sony’s PlayStation hack apology. Available: http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/technology-13206004. Last accessed 25/04/2011. BBC News. (2011). Sony faces legal action over attack on PlayStation network. Available: http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/technology-13192359. Last accessed 25/04/2011. Helen Nugent and James Dean . (2007). Millions of Facebook users ‘leave themselves open to identity theft’.

Available:http://technology. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article2253720. ece. Last accessed 25/04/2011. Matthew Fraser ; Soumitra Dutta. (2009). The Business Advantages of Social Networking.. Available: http://www. throwingsheep. com/docs/FM168SocialNetworkingArticle. pdf . Last accessed 25/04/2011. Melissa Gonzalez. (2010). The Future of Internet Marketing and Social Media. Available: http://www. optimum7. com/internet-marketing/internet-marketing-strategy/the-future-of-internet-marketing-and-social-media. html. Last accessed 25/04/2011 Torben Rick . (2011). Yet another social media failure. Available: