Our analysis of social networking sites Identifies and characterizes the types of social media used, as well as the various organizational purposes for the use of social media. Our exploratory survey and interviews yielded a deeper level of understanding of the adoption of social networking sites by organizations. We employed management fashion theory and adaptive saturation theory to characterize the ways in which advanced Information technology can bring about organizational change.
Our findings indicate that there is an increased use of social media and social networking sites y organizations that results in the form of passive or active, proactive or reactive, and tactical or strategic uses. Keywords Adaptive saturation theory Exploratory research Field study Interviews Management fashion theory Organizational change Social media Social networks 1 Introduction Today’s customers are using the oil-so-social-Webb  to connect and share experiences and information on products and services, companies and brands.
And as a result of the widespread growth of online social networking and exaggerated content sites, a shift in the balance of power is occurring [6, 40, 43, 45, 57]. Consumers are no longer passive receivers of marketing messages; instead, they are using Backbone, Namespace, Youth and Twitter to voice their opinions?both positive and negative. Moreover, consumers seek product and company Information on more credible and relevant than information provided by marketers .
Clemens [1 1] describes the perpetually online youth of today who do not trust messages from companies but instead value the opinions and recommendations of their peers and the products of their own research even more. Irish shift in power from organizations to consumers is explained by the informational and organizational characteristics of the Internet such that consumers now gain expert power from social media as they get more information on products or companies from many sources on the Internet .
Additionally, consumers share experiences with hundreds or thousands of other consumers who have personal experience with a company [1 3, 43], and these other users are seen as more credible than corporate marketers who are paid to promote the product . As Information on products and companies becomes more transparent through the use of social media, the concept of information is power” is neutralized, as information is more readily available and shared [43, 45]. Everyone, not just the manufacturer or the marketer, can be an expert on a particular product or service or company.
Additionally, by I. K. Sinclair (&) Department of Computer & Information Technology, Arkansas State University, Sensor, AR, USA e-mail: [email protected] Du C. E. Bogus Department of Management, Arkansas State University, Ingression, AR, USA e-mail: [email protected] Du Info Techno Manage (2011) 12:293-314 DOI 10. 1007/assess-011-0086-5 using social media to aggregate opinions, consumers gain inaction power, described by Reestablish et al. , p. 6 as “the consumer’s ability to reward or punish a supplier. Clemens  has offered additional evidence related to the shift in power from organizations to consumers. He refers to consumer informers as the degree to which consumers know about products in the marketplace in terms of availability, attributes and price. His premise is that informers changes consumer behavior and consequently empowers customers. Similarly, Parameters and Winston  view customer empowerment as collective bargaining power, and suggest that organizations return for feedback that ultimately allows the organization to provide better value to its customers.
Two examples illustrate how this shift in power from organizations to consumers can force a company to rethink its corporate strategy. In 2007, the global confectionery company, Catbird, acknowledged the power of social media when approximately 14,000 Backbone fans petitioned the company to reliance a discontinued candy bar 144]. More recently, using the slogan, “Power to the People,” Rock Art Brewery  used social media to rally consumer support for its product, Overmaster Beer.
This occurred after Hansen Beverage Company, maker of Monster energy drinks, ordered Rock Art to stop using the overmaster name. For this research, we will operationally define the use of social networking site as utilization by an organization to achieve some goal or purpose consistent Ninth its mission. Rock Art owner, Matt Andean, used Backbone, Twitter, and his company Web site to conduct a social media event to urge consumers to boycott Hansen Beverage.
After only 21 days, Andean claimed victory after receiving national media attention for using “the power of social net- Morning”  to call attention to his fight with Hansen Beverage. In the Overmaster ease, social media were characterized as “tool[s] that we have as Americans to fight against big power” . Figure 1 characterizes the shift in power from organizations to consumers [40, 43, 45, 57] as a seesaw relationship in which social media act as the pivot component or fulcrum of a simple lever. In physics, a fulcrum serves to transmit and modify a force or motion.
To depict the heavier weight of consumers, that box is bearing more of the weight in the seesaw. Reestablish et al.  describe power as a relational concept such that one side having more power implies the other side has less. Given the adoption of social media by individual users and the ability to collect and share information and thus gain expert power and sanction power, the problem for organizations is how to manage social media to counterbalance the shift in power away from companies toward consumers.
A recent call for papers and a completed special Issue of the e-commerce research Journal Electronic Commerce Research and Applications published in January- February 2010 suggest that there has been little research in the area of the adoption of social media or for research on the role of social networks in business , we will present an analysis of existing applications of social networking sites that leads to a survey of high-level managers at large global organizations and follow-up interviews to learn more about how organizations are leveraging social networking sites to generate business ‘alee.
This article examines four research questions to Inch the exploratory study of firm-level adoption behavior from publicly-available data and interviews from highlight managerial informants from Fortune 500 companies can offer useful answers: (1) Why are organizations adopting social media? (2) Does adoption of social media differ by company or industry group? 3) Does adoption of social media differ by companies within industry group? 14) Does adoption of social media result in any kinds of recognizable organizational change? Social media and organizations Social media is a broad term that describes software tools that create user-generated content that can be shared . Social media technologies include social network Web sites, blobs, and wises, as well as online photo and video sharing sites, and IRS status updates sites. 2. 1 Growth of social media Nielsen  describes the growth in popularity of social networks as “the global consumer phenomenon.
While Backbone now has 500 million users , proclaiming the 35-and-over age group to be the fastest growing demographic 116], Nielsen  reports that time spent on social network and blobbing sites is growing at more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth. There are a number of major players among the mainstream online social networks. This paper examines five Fig. 1 Consumers gain expert power and sanction power by using social media 294 Info Techno Manage (2011) 12:293-314 123 specific social network sites due to their global appeal and user numbers: Backbone, Namespace, Linked, Youth and Twitter.
Nielsen  identifies Backbone, Namespace, and Linked among the top five social networks in terms of global online reach. Its “top five” list also includes Resort, the Google social network, and Classmates Online. However, those social networks are not included in this research because Resort users are located primarily in India and Brazil (less than 3% are in the US), and Classmates is not a free (tube and Twitter for this project because they serve different purposes and target different groups of global users and they are free sites.
Namespace appeals to a mostly younger audience (the 24-and-under age group) that sees pseudonyms and character names to create highly personalized profile pages. Backbone appeals to users of all ages who use real names to create standardized profile pages. We selected Linked because it is a career-oriented network for professionals who seek connections with other professionals; and Youth because it is the world’s most popular site for sharing and watching original video content.
We selected Twitter, the micro-blobbing status update site, for two reasons: its simplicity, since it requires nothing more than a cell phone, and its real-time broadcast platform, making it differ from other social outworking sites. Our objective is to evaluate diverse social networking sites and these five sites offer such diversity. 2. 1. 1 Namespace Created in 2004, Namespace attracted one million users in its first 60 days of operation. Currently it claims over 100 million active global users, 65% of whom come from the United States .
Nielsen  credits Namespace with achieving first-mover advantage when its rival Backbone first appeared on the scene. Namespace was acquired by Rupert Murderous News Corporation in 2005, an indication of the importance of social media to the traditional corporate media world. . 1. 2 Backbone Also launched in 2004, Backbone is now the most well known of the social media Web sites. It describes itself as a “social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers” .
In 5 years, Backbone saw epic growth, from one million active users in 2004  to 500 million users in 2010 . 2. 1. 3 Linked Linked is the world’s largest professional business network with 55 million members representing 170 industries in 200 countries . Founded in 2003 as a professional contact network, Linked formed a strategic alliance legislations with SYNC in 2005. Linked provides both personal (free) accounts as well as business user (based) accounts that include email and search functionality as well as expanded profile views .
Once used primarily by individuals to boost professional prospects and small companies to market products and services, Linked has evolved to provide group capabilities and company profiles that can be “followed” by interested users. The site includes sponsored links managed by marketing and managers alike. 2. 1. 4 Youth Founded in 2005, Youth is the world’s largest online died community where people watch hundreds of millions of videos each day and upload hundreds of thousands of videos daily’ .
From its simple beginning, Youth has emerged as a highly effective business tool for presentations, promotions, and product placement. Companies use Youth to share videos of important meetings, introduce staff, post solutions to common problems, and provide customer support and product tours. Anyone with a basic account can upload a video. Viewers browse broad subject categories or channels that group videos by content providers (comedians, directors, gurus, musicians, nonprofit, partners and sponsors), or use keyword search to look for videos about a particular person or subject.
Groups are organized by subject or theme, and contests and games are sponsored by Youth members. Viewer functionality includes the ability to leave comments, add friends to a contact list, and share videos with groups. Future was acquired by Google in 2006. 2. 1. 5 Twitter Twitter is an Internet messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices . Starting out as an experiment in 2006, Twitter boasts: “Every day, millions of people use Twitter to create, discover and share ideas Ninth others” . According to Externalities. Mom , Twitter grew four-fold in 2009, Ninth more than twenty million unique visitors in December 2009, up from approximately five million unique visitors in January 2009. In July 2010, more than 300,000 people a day signed up for Twitter . The Twitter micro-blobbing platform allows users to publish short messages (fewer than 140 characters) as well as befriend and monitor each other’s messages and updates. At its start, Twitter was a communication platform for individuals and their personal social networks. However, companies were quick to discover how to use it for
Info Techno Manage (2011) 12:293-314 295 promotion and marketing purposes. For example, Dell has used Twitter to push out offers to over 600,000 followers for returned, reconditioned and slightly damaged computers from its outlet store . Mobile applications let users share images, video and audio, and the recent redesign of easier for users to navigate the site . According to the Pew Research Center, in 2009, 46% of online American adults 18 or older and 65% of teens 12-17 years old used a social networking site .
In 2009, Backbone was the most popular social networking site for American adults 18 years and over. . 2 Organizations and social media Reporting on the use of Web 2. 0 technologies including online social networks in 2007, McKinney  indicates a high level of adoption by organizations (reaching adoption by nearly two-thirds of its respondents), although one-third of the respondents characterize Web 2. 0 as “experimental. ” Ease of implementation and an increased ability to communicate with customers are identified as drivers of the development of these technologies.
Noting that many organizations have rushed into using virtual communities Introit knowing how to use them successfully, Spaulding 54] applies a value-chain perspective to identify four organizational activities likely to be effective in the virtual environment (product development, marketing, sales, and support) and four requirements for success in virtual communities (a critical mass of users, an attitude of contribution, business needs that are matched by community needs, and dedicated organizational resources).
Characterizing social computing as a use of IT that extends beyond traditional organizational boundaries to overlap with other stakeholders, Parameters and Nonstop  suggests there are strategic options for organizations to consider if they wish to embark on the use of social computing systems and virtual communities. Strategic options include choosing between acquiring or developing a social network, using product-based or Interest-based groups, and deciding whether to own or sponsor a social community .
Nag , p. 336 reports on how business-to-business organizations are using e-commerce communities to facilitate knowledge management among companies having common interests through “a learning process [that] occurs through colonization. ” This research offers insights on how organizational- bevel online communities function Nothing and across industries. Sq organizations invest in online social networks, there are concerns about network growth and value.
In research on achieving critical mass in social networks, Wasteland suggests that developing a social network to a state of selfsameness and growth requires accomplishing two tasks: managing invitations to Join the network and increasing the likelihood that invitations will be accepted. According to Nag , social networks can promote connectedness by providing features that facilitate interactions among users. At the same time, interaction among users gives rise to concerns regarding trust and information privacy. Rust and privacy are critical issues for virtual communities and online social networking sites [22, 33]. Recent research by Lu et al.  highlights the role of trust (I. E. , trust in other members, trust in the community site ‘ender) in building a successful online community. Other research by Hadley et al.  emphasizes the importance of the perception of privacy in online social networks, citing a protest by Backbone users over a perceived loss of control over private information.
Although there are concerns about trust and privacy, many online social networks allow users to express personal preferences and form links Create connections) based on preferences that reflect attitudes, likes, and dislikes. Research by Hog  discusses how the structure of an online social network allows an organization to exploit preferences for target marketing, although privacy issues may arise from using information n this way.
In summary, current research in this area reflects the stage of adoption in which organizations are working to Identify uses, consider strategic options, and evaluate success factors for virtual communities and online social networks [40, 54], given issues regarding network growth and the value of online social networks [58, 61] and user concerns for trust and privacy [22, 23, 32]. 2. 3 Theoretical background Three theories may be appropriate for exploring the adoption and diffusion of social networking technologies by organizations: management fashion, which relates to Waves of interest in management techniques” , p. 56; bandwagon diffusion , Inch relates to an increased adoption of an innovation as a result of adoption by others; and adaptive truncation theory , an approach to studying organizational change that results from the use of information technologies. According to Abramson , p. 1, the adoption of certain management techniques and technologies are fashion, defined as “transitory collective beliefs that certain management techniques are at the forefront of management progress. Fashion-setters?those individuals who help define and promote the current fashion?are management consultants, management gurus, mass-media publications, and the popular press. 296 Info Techno Manage (2011) 12:293-314 Management fashion theory describes how organizations allow innovation models promoted by fashion-setters, and suggests that levels of diffusion and adoption of new management techniques are not fully explained by rational arguments.
Instead, management fashion maintains that other factors including stakeholder expectations and organizational need to be perceived as progressive affect the adoption of an innovation. Abramson  describes how uncertainty about the efficiency of an innovation can lead organizations to adopt an inefficient innovation or reject an efficient one. He further discusses how symbolic efficiency (I. E. , adopting an innovation in order to appear innovative) may provide benefits such as attracting customers. Management fashion theory explains how interest in particular IS topics occur in Naves. For example, Basketballs and Meyers  applied management fashion theory to IS research and practice by exploring the relationship between academic literature and practitioner literature for four IS innovations. This research concludes that IS academic literature appears to be both fashion and Obsolete; that is, academic literature follows fashion because it parallels trends in practitioner literature. However, the IS research literature may also seem obsolete cause academic interest in the fashion continues after the fashion dies .
There is often a direct relationship between the degree of fashion setting promotion and the adoption of a specific management fashion: as fashion setting declines, so does the use of the management technique or practice . The popularity of quality circles is one example of this relationship, as they rose with management fashion and declined and became extinct as promotion declined . Business process reengineering is another example of a management innovation that declined as promotion declined. On the other hand, management fashion frequently results in the diffusion and adoption of innovations Institutionalized.
In research on the organizational consequences of IT fashion, Wang  links management fashion theory to information technology fashion that describes the search for and adoption of “the next big thing” in IT that promises improved performance or a competitive advantage. In this study, the author identifies eight information technology innovations and their fashion periods, and tracks those innovations within large corporations. Hangs  study demonstrates the significance of IT fashion by examining the effects in terms of organizational reputation and performance.
Responses and Abramson  describe a form of adoption called bandwagon diffusion in which information about the adoption of an innovation creates increased bandwagon pressure. This in turn creates greater adoption of the innovation. A bandwagon is a popular trend that attracts growing support. Social bandwagon pressures are influenced both by greater numbers of adopters and the reputation of adopters such that non-adopters may appear to be different or abnormal if they fail to adopt the innovation. Abramson and Responses  characterize Onondaga adoption in terms of institutional bandwagon pressure and competitive bandwagon pressure.
Institutional bandwagon pressure occurs when the decision to adopt an innovation is driven by the fact that many other organizations have adopted the innovation, and non-adopters fear looking abnormal by comparison and therefore less legitimate to their stakeholders. Competitive bandwagon pressure occurs when the decision to adopt an innovation is driven by the fear of lost competitive advantage; additional pressure to adopt comes from the recognition of the risk associated with the failure to adopt an innovation that is successful.