The rise and rise of Social Media: business and management study – an invitation to ‘give thought’ at this stage

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

“In the modern age, how functional are the technological objects that surround us?" Richard Lane

I met with my university’s ‘expert’ in Social Media this week and chatted about its rise and rise within society and inevitably within courses such as our MBA. She has the considerable challenge of engaging with academic staff to help them develop use of social media tools, both personally and within teaching activity. There is of course no ‘best practice model’ for this ‘journey’ as this is an entirely emergent phenomena. The scenes in Libya yesterday and the Arab Spring this year, and our own riots this summer, and the sight of Tom Watson MP tweeting during the Select Committee hearings on Hackgate, are ‘popular’ images closely associated we might claim with the evolution of social media, its speed and uncontrollability. Hence my desire to be neither resistance to it nor messianic about its potential as it remains of unknown long-term value. Was Steve Jobs a revolutionary figure or did he just produce wonderfully aesthetically pleasing designs that are ornaments for the wealthy, for example?

This blog is to encourage all in business, quite gently really, to give increased thought about your presence on social media networks. Even if you think it is a ‘modern tyranny’ and as one colleague suggested is ‘airing dirty washing in public’. I raise this now as I’m integrating, very slowly, blogging into one of my year two modules and prefer to make the world aware of the sense of inevitability about such approaches. Universities are not able to resist the allure of new technologies. My current observation is that the senior leadership of organisations are grappling with how board members, MDs and CEOs develop personal competencies in interacting with their stakeholders via blogs et al, as either a form of ‘transparency and engagement’ and also as a form of ‘propaganda or construction’ of messages. Although I think it’s increasingly difficult to ‘construct ourselves’ consistently with these new forms of media. Despite my measured approach I think ‘organisations’ as we know them are going to fragment again; and so are working lives (if your working patterns and relationships with work-world haven’t already). We see the high street fragmenting now with book and music retail collapsing like a house of cards under the rise of Amazon and e-books and downloads.

So… I raise these thoughts with the purpose of suggesting you think of social media as an opportunity within the context of management studies and not least inviting your ongoing debate. Your careers will rise and this question won’t go away and my unction would be let’s cross this Rubicon sooner than later. One argument I throw out is that Masters level study is largely about forming an Argument that largely isn’t referent to anyone other than yourself and your own rationale; and these tools demand to a certain extent we form and expose that Independent Position.

If… you asked what might you do now that I think will be fruitful, I’d say gain a presence on the following sites (these are my accounts):



Blogs (such as WordPress) Jean Baudrillard on technology:

Social Media: A liberation and autonomy for the mediated masses or another form of conformism to the fashionable? Foucault's concerns about modern freedoms

Consider these tools as a means to interact with each other but also develop what my colleague calls a Personal Learning Network where we utilise these means purposefully within the context of a career. I’m mindful of our Learning Development Group as there are bridges between these tools and support services to students which I’m still trying to understand.

You may be far more mature in your thinking about these areas so do express your ideas here.

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