Trust: The Vital Ingredient

I like all of the questions for this week’s topic, but the first one grabbed me more than the others.

Trust isn’t something I had really thought about until this point in the course, but from looking at the readings it seems obvious now that different types of trust underpin social media use in different ways; in fact, social media would barely exist if it weren’t for their users’ trust. Continue reading


Government and Social Media

How Does Government Social Media Use Compare to that of the Private Sector?

I’ve noticed more parallels between the public and private sectors than I expected to when I first read the question.

As we know, both small businesses and those in the corporate world are embracing social media in order to achieve a number of goals and increase their competitive advantage. At the same time, MPs in New Zealand have been establishing a presence on Facebook for some years. The NZ Parliamentary Library (NZPL) has compared various parties’ and MPs’ friend and fan counts, which is mildly interesting – what is much more interesting is the NZPL’s noting that two of the five most-followed MPs on Facebook entered Parliament after the 2008 election. This is not long at all when you think that MPs like Winston Peters are still around. Could it be that younger MPs are looking to social media to help build a support base, or even (forgetting for a second that correlation does not imply causality) that a higher number of social media followers might be an indicator of electoral success? MPs probably are trying to gain support in the same way that companies look for new leads online, but I’m leaning towards ‘no’ on the latter. As the NZPL points out, a lot of people follow others on social media in order to observe them, not necessarily because they agree with them. It’s hard enough to predict based on voter polls! Continue reading


Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Mobile Social Media Apps

How can small businesses and non-profits benefit from social media?

Social media holds the promise of connection between individuals, whether it’s with old friends or like-minded people across the world. The same is true for businesses that want to get their name out there and build their client base, and as MYOB has reported, the benefits are real: their survey found that almost a third of businesses have increased revenue through their online presence.

While the options available to businesses continue to evolve, it’s worth noting that consumers and populations are changing as well. This is particularly true with regards to expectations about a business’s public face and people’s comfort level in sharing information online. Witzig’s team of researchers found that young people are actually more likely to donate to non-profits online than through traditional means, which is a powerful reminder for any business that’s trying to build loyalty: social media isn’t going anywhere, so it’s probably worth investigating. Continue reading