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Communications and Media

The power of social media

The Internet revolution and the beginning of the digital age have meant new opportunities and new challenges for businesses. Business now has access to a communication infrastructure that allows virtually anyone to have access to the same set of information at the same time. In the earliest days of the Internet, many people saw the possibilities of what could be done with the technology, but the reality was that the Internet was not ready to support many of these ideas, and a great number of businesses failed. Now the infrastructure is catching up with the ideas, and virtual, online-only businesses are not just common, but are actually replacing some real-world businesses.

There are still many unknown factors related to conducting business on the Internet. As one person in the video described it, “we don’t know what business is going to look like because we’re inventing it out of a new set of connections” (“The Networked Society,” n.d.). In other words, the changes to the Internet are now happening so rapidly that users still have not imagined all the ways the Internet might be used. We are at the beginning of the “smart” world, and will eventually live in a world where almost everyone on the planet has access to the Internet. This means that people can start and operate businesses anywhere in the world and do business with people anywhere else in the world.

The video focuses primarily on the connectivity of the Internet and all the different possibilities it provides, while the book focuses primarily on the way social media can be used to make businesses and personal interactions function more smoothly. The book discusses media such as Twitter and Facebook, and explains that the “friend” networks we build on these sites are relevant both to our personal lives and our business lives (Solis, 2012) . In a sense, both the video and the book show how we are going to blur the lines between work lives and personal lives, as we become connected to the Internet constantly.

Neither the book nor the video places much emphasis on the potential downsides of all this connectivity. The primary concern that I see when exploring this information is that there is still a lot we do not know about how the growth of the Internet will affect the world’s future. The dot-com boom of the 90s led to an eventual collapse because the Internet was not really ready to support all the things people tried to do with it. It is possible that the uses of the Internet are again growing more quickly than the technology can support, and there may be unknown problems ahead as we become more wired and more connected.

References

Solis, B. (2012). The end of business as usual: Rewire the way you work to succeed in the consumer revolution. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

The Networked Society, On the Brink (n.d.). [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wqm6G5DjaI