Social Networks

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The Truth About Behavioral Change

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 14 min 

In this article drawn from his new book, How Behavior Spreads, UPenn professor Damon Centola explains how the thinking about social networks is changing. Recent research reveals that depending on long-established concepts such as “weak ties” and “long bridges” to drive the adoption of new innovations and organizational change can be a prescription for failure.

Twitter Is Not the Echo Chamber We Think It Is

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

The popular perception of Twitter as a social media “echo chamber,” where people only receive and retweet opinions that match their own, does not reflect the data about users’ actual engagement. The average Twitter user propagates more mainstream content and follows a diverse group of users — and this has implications for social media marketing.

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How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas

New research shows a link between the amount of diversity in employees’ Twitter networks and the quality of their ideas. “A diverse network provides exposure to people from different fields who behave and think differently,” write Salvatore Parise (Babson College), Eoin Whelan (National University of Ireland) and Steve Todd (EMC Corporation). They found that the more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be innovative. They also found that Twitter users who are both idea scouts and idea connectors are especially valuable in the workplace.

Social Media’s Expanding Relationship Universe

Social psychologists studying technology have created new classes of relationships among people. To understand the potential value of social tools within the enterprise, technology platforms need to take into account four factors identified by researchers studying offline social networks — proximities, interactions, relationships and flows.

Can You Really Let Employees Loose on Social Media?

At Mitel, a $1.2 billion communications technology company, employees tweet about the company and are proactive on LinkedIn with only one rule: “Use your best judgment at all times.” Martyn Etherington, the company’s chief marketing officer and chief of staff, has no problem with that. “We have to enable the majority and not hold them back by implementing catch-all policies that are aimed at a few.”

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Courtesy of Women's World Banking.

Women’s World Banking: A Model Knowledge Network

Knowledge networks are helping members of organizations of all sizes learn quickly and collaborate productively. The most effective networks are clear about goals, allow for shared expertise and embrace online communication. Women’s World Banking, for instance, has a robust website where members discuss topics, share documents and collaborate on wikis.

The Relevance of Data: Going Behind The Scenes at LinkedIn

It is an understatement to say LinkedIn is growing like a weed. With 238 million members in over 200 countries, 2.8 million active company profiles, and 1 million professionally oriented groups, LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional networking site. Deepak Agarwal, LinkedIn’s director of relevance science, explains how his company uses data and analytics to sustain this growth.

Image courtesy of Flickr user DailyPic.

What Sells CEOs on Social Networking

In 2006, MIT Sloan’s Andrew McAfee coined the term “Enterprise 2.0″ as shorthand for collaboration and sharing tools would mean for enterprises. In a recent interview with MIT Sloan Management Review, McAfee looks back at the past six years and reveals what he’s learned about the triggers that generate CEO interest in social networking, what he misread and why the idea of controlling information flows is becoming obsolete.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user luc legay.

How to Get Your Messages Retweeted

Many companies are trying to leverage the power of Twitter to connect with customers and promote their brands and products. This article identifies factors that increase the likelihood of “retweeting” so that a company’s tweets will be shared with recipients’ networks.

There are several practices that don’t work well. The most important to avoid is blatant hard-sell messages. Twitter may be better suited for building brands than for building markets for new offerings.

Image courtesy of Flickr user le_huf.

Why CRM Fails — and How to Fix It

Customer relationship marketing was supposed to be a “new paradigm” that yieldied more loyal customers and more profit for companies. It hasn’t. Researchers from Cranfield School of Management write that the problem is fundamental: “Most senior management teams have an unbalanced approach to managing marketing investments, and this is particularly evident in the case of CRM.” Their suggestion: successful CRM investment begins with new capabilities to improve customer relationships and then backfills the capital investment as needed.

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Image courtesy of YouTube.

When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet

Companies need to understand and manage the rising threat of online public complaining. When customers believe that a company has treated them badly, they may take their grievance public — very public. What can companies do, whether in reacting to such negative publicity or in preventing its occurrence? The authors have developed an “organizing matrix” to help understand and respond to online complaints, noting that “as long as the company uses such fair processes, and as long as it makes customers aware of them, customers will tolerate the occasional service failure.”

The Collective Intelligence Genome

This 2010 article explores how large, loosely organized groups of people are working together electronically in surprisingly effective ways — sometimes without even knowing it. To take advantage of the new possibilities and potential of collective intelligence, managers need a deep understanding of how these systems work. The authors employ an analogy from biology and call the building blocks that are combined and recombined in various ways the “genes” of collective intelligence systems.

Showing 1-20 of 40