Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Web 2.0 revolution

Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom (Authors: Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta) could be subtitled everything you wanted to know about social media but didn't have the time ask. It examines how online social networking is transforming business. “throwing sheep” is a term the authors coin describing what people do on websites to get one another’s attention. For example “poking” someone online, an example of the Gen Y world of virtual social interaction.

Its seems like a useful introduction to the online reality of Web 2.0 powered social networking from the perspective of the authors who seem to have a theoretical understanding of economics, business and organisational behaviour. Social networking has exploded and blossomed into a significant cultural force. The underlying argument of this book is that the "Web 2.0 revolution represents a powerful rupture in established forms of social organisation” The authors contend that the Internet is fuelling changes in society’s social order, values and institutions. The book begins by outlining the social scientific understanding of interpersonal interactions, dividing them into three categories personal, organisational, and consumer. It also examines how social networks break down traditional, centralised, top down power structures, diffusing influence to the edges, including people from all occupations. I'm still reading (listening) to this book so here is a some paraphrasing form an online book review:

"The bulk of “Throwing Sheep” is devoted to a comprehensive account of the ways in which social networking affects everything from interpersonal communication to political activism, following the author’s thematic structure of identity (personal interactions), status (the organisational), and power (communal or civic activity). The conclusion of “Throwing Sheep” doesn’t offer much in the way of proscriptive recommendations, but rather a reprise of its key theme of social networking’s empowering promises. The authors do acknowledge some pitfalls or, as they describe it, the dark side of the Web 2.0 revolution, noting, “Never before have our identities been so exposed to danger.” Yet they trust that humanity’s inherent benevolence, integrity, and morality will prevail, and social networking’s benefits will outweigh the hazards that have already infiltrated social sites.

Key Concepts

• The Web 2.0 revolution, epitomised by social networking sites, represents what the authors call an “eruption” in established forms of social organisation, ushering in an era of increased self-awareness and self-reliance.

• For businesses, Web 2.0 social networks facilitate communication within the organisation and between company and customer.

• Within the enterprise, social networking knocks down departmental silos and corporate walls, all barriers to communication within the organisation.

• Used strategically, Web 2.0 social sites can allow business leaders greater control over their company’s brand, image, and reputation.

• Fundamentally, online social networking isn’t merely a method of communication or a by product of a changing society; it’s an instrument of change."

Throwing Sheep In the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World (Unabridged) Click the button to see the audiobook on iTunes or you can buy the old media version in any bookshop :-)

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