Posted by: gavinstokes | January 19, 2011

Notes and observations on social computing article


Interesting article on social computing gives a general overview and hints at future problems and benefits

http://cism.mccombs.utexas.edu/attachments/105_Social_Computing_An_Overview.pdf

Questions about incentives and motivation for user participation in such networks, the impact on social welfare, market structure, quality and choice of products, on the ability of firms to extract consumer surplus, and externality effects will interest researchers pursuing economic aspects of information systems

Online communities represent a wealth of demand information, as well as rich and focused channels for promotion and distribution, from the marketing perspective. In general, social  computing environments present settings for data collection on a wide variety of aspects for researchers interested in online behavior of individuals, both in natural observations and for controlled experiments
“For executives, having a blog is not going to be a matter of choice, any more than using e-mail today,” according to Jonathan Schwartz, COO  and President, Sun Micro Systems  [Schwartz 2005]. “

What exactly does this mean, as far as I’m aware CEO and management blogs over the last two years have turned out to be a failure due to there forced nature,  content is more company mantra and project updates rather than genuine interesting observations and personal views,  and the fact that people just are not that interested in what is being posted

Social outlets expand the organizational boundary to be much more fluid, enveloping communities of shared interests, and often spanning multiple communities, and on occasion anchored around a single individual and an associated interest group.

Important is the profound implications it holds for businesses in providing value to users. These spaces represent repositories of preference information, consumption patterns, social trends, market  segmentation information, and opportunity for customization at very fine granularity, including location, community, and at individual levels. Organizations that find ways of creatively  extracting and leveraging information from these spaces so as to provide enhanced value to the customer using the information gathered can be immensely successful.

Very interested in this and how local government can derive benefit from social media

Social software sites which create knowledge by collective contributions, debate and refinement tend to generate reasonably accurate information, and often lead to better insights than academic research and expensive analyst report.

I’d like to see the evidence to support this seems like wishful thinking. I can see how it provides for insightful discussions but to claim it leads to better insights than academic research and then point to wikipedia and Slashdot as examples of this, is a bit of a stretch.

The emphasis on lightweight computing tools may be seen as a shift from servers to the edge.

The edge of what, article seems to mention “The edge” a hell of a lot.

……a collection of communities within any given subject domain may evolve into an “echo chamber” that reinforces the collective viewpoints and biases of the communities and repeats the same content in various guise…..More importantly, these echo chambers frequently exclude viewpoints that do not conform to the established view;…….. a digitally connected individual may be receiving multiple information channels. The result could be less focus on any individual information source or social interaction, and in general, degradation in the ability for processing information.

All seems to contradict the idea that social networks lead to better insights than academic research and expensive analyst report.

Social computing erodes brand loyalty, replacing it with loyalty to the community and peers. Customers trust their peers more and tend to become more independent and critical in their assessment of product offerings. Further, they will demand more customization and expect firms to be more open to participative design incorporating customer feedback in product development.  The successful firms will see these as opportunities rather than as drawbacks and adapt their product development and marketing efforts to the new order by leveraging their own participation and promotion of communities.

An issue which I think  public bodies will be facing very soon due to a lack of planning and integration when it comes to social media.

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