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Social Media as Collaboration Outline and Paragraphs

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Social Media as Collaboration Outline Social Media as Collaboration Outline and Paragraphs Social Media as Collaboration Outline and Paragraphs

Using Social Media as a Collaboration Tool


Intro / History and background information


  • Natural blend of social aspect as technology becomes more integrated into our lives




By individuals


By businesses


Ways that social media can be leveraged

  • Academic and corporate learning

-          New social learning site socialmediaclassroom.com is a platform where learners and teachers to collaborate for their own purposes.  The platform includes a free and open source web service that provides tools such as integrated forums, blog, comment, wikis, chat, social bookmarking, micro blogging, widgets, and video commenting.

(Invitation to Social Media Classroom and Collaboration, http://socialmediaclassroom.com/, 1st paragraph)         

  • Corporate recruitment “social recruiting”

    Corporate Recruitment

-          Many corporations use their Facebook fan pages to communicate job openings and to promote incentives and referrals.

(Facebook for Employers- Make Friends not Fans, http://socialmediarecruitment.com/blog/2010/06/21/facebook-for-employers-make-friends-not-fans/, 4th paragraph 


      -          While Facebook is not known to be effective for candidate sourcing, it can be used to learn more about the candidate’s personal life.  However, this can be difficult as the majority of Facebook users are weary of potential employers to getting to close their social life.

(Facebook for Employers- Make Friends not Fans, http://socialmediarecruitment.com/blog/2010/06/21/facebook-for-employers-make-friends-not-fans/, 5th and 6th paragraph)


-          LinkedIn is web 2.0 site that allows people across the globe to post professional profiles, join groups, discussion boards, send messages, and post jobs.  LinkedIn has started LinkedIn Talent Advantage, which is formal recruiting arm.  Talent Advantage allows enables recruiters to reach targeted candidate by sending direct messages, be on the same page by providing team collaboration tools, to post jobs and utilize LinkedIn’s automated talent matching system.


  • Marketing and business development

-          Utilized LinkedIn to increase brand awareness by starting company page.

(Custom Company Profiles, http://talent.linkedin.com/profiles/)


-          Generate names of key decision makers on LinkedIn by conducting simple searches.


-          Showcase your knowledge on certain topics by sharing expertise on discussion boards and group discussions.  Spread the knowledge on Twitter and take advantage of the viral effect.

(Content Sharing Strategy, http://www.findandconvert.com/blog/2010/a-step-by-step-social-media-business-development-plan/


-          Connect with current clients on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkeIn to share personal information as we as business; Can be a very accessible and comfortable way to communicate

(Professional and Social Credibility, http://www.findandconvert.com/blog/2010/a-step-by-step-social-media-business-development-plan/

Crowd sourcing



Problems: Legal Issues 

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin have compromised consumer trust by not disclosing to users when they introduced features and functionality in their applications without disclosing to users how these were affecting their privacy.  Users often had no notice of new features and were not given the opportunity to decide whether they wanted their information shared publicly or not. After the introduction of these new features user accounts returned to their default privacy settings without any warning to the users. 



Additional reading


return to Book






WEB 2.0 technologies introduced interactive capabilities to websites.  The ability to input information on a website launched a new era for social networking.  Social media is about people having conversations online.  Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter. Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too. (Nations, 2010)

Social media provides the means to build online communities and communication, two necessary components for successful virtual teaming and collaboration.  Learn how to use social media (blogging, Twitter, FaceBook) and you learn the skills to succeed in virtual teams. (Bas De Baar, 2009)


Several types of social media applications exist. Each type enables it’s users to interact with one another. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, allow users to create profiles and connect with individuals or groups.  Social bookmarking sites such as Digg, allow users to share favorite content. Blogs such as Wordpress or Typepad, are online journals.  Wikis, such as Wikipedia, provide content sharing for multiple contributors.  Photo sharing sites, such Flickr, allow users to share photos.  YouTube is a popular video sharing site. Collaboration and brainstorming tools such Facilitate and Streamwork enable users to brainstorm and rank ideas.  SharePoint provides content management collaboration capabilities.  These are just a few examples of the many types of applications that support social media. (McIntosh, 2009)


Businesses use social media in several ways.  Marketing and sales departments can reach out to customers.  Human resource departments can recruit new employees and stay in touch with current employees.  Information technology departments can deploy social media for managing projects and sharing information about systems.  Large organizations can use social media to connect internally. Small organizations find social media an inexpensive way to reach out to larger communities. 


This section on using social media as a collaboration tool will cover the following topics:  history and background of social media, adoption of social media by individuals and businesses, crowdsourcing, legal issues and privacy issues with social media.





By Individuals


Younger generations use social media more than older generations.  According to eMarketer, six percent of people in the age group of 44 – 62 years, and around 61% of those aged 27 to 43 years, are socially networked.  In addition, younger users tend to be early adopters of new social media platforms but older generations require more time. The top countries for monthly social media usage in February 2010, according to The Nielsen Company, were Italy, Australia, and the United States.   These statistics should come as no surprise, but an interesting trend is in the growth of social media on mobile devices in developing countries. According to a report from Opera, the year over year growth rate of Facebook in 2009 on Opera Mobile was 4717% in Ukraine, 2100% in Vietnam, and 1083% in Nigeria.  Because many of these households do not have a computer, the adoption of the internet has gone directly to mobile devices. In markets where the internet is relatively new, most consumers don't have a good idea of what the internet is or what value it provides.  About one third of offline consumers in Mexico and Brazil state that they will never use the internet.  This resistance to adopt and barriers to entry present an issue for widespread adoption of social media in some countries. China has a large and rapidly growing internet market.  It presents a unique challenge though because many western sites are blocked by their national firewall.  This means that China has separate tools for social media, making global collaboration on public platforms challenging.




By Businesses


When businesses invest in social media, it can dramatically transform how they approach recruiting, PR, marketing, and other functions.  For this reason, they want to make sure that both the tools they are using and social media itself will be relevant to their target audience in the future.  In an article by Christopher Rollyson on Socialmedia.biz, he explains the social media adoption curve, and feels that the hype of Web 2.0 peaked in 2009.  He estimates that 2010 will be a year of failure and disappointment, and many Web 2.0 initiatives will fail.  Businesses adopting social media need to be cognizant of this and select their tools wisely to ensure they are investing in technologies that will be relevant for several years.  Below is his adoption curve estimate:



According to research performed by MarketingProfs in the Fall of 2009, the majority of businesses are not using social media, meaning there is still substantial opportunity for growth and adoption.  The research found that the largest category of social media usage by businesses was B2C marketing through Facebook.  Below is a graphic from the research:


Pasted Graphic_social media.pdf


Large organizations, especially Fortune 500 companies, are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies.  With the exception of organizations such as IBM and Microsoft, who sell social media products and services, many organizations are still only adopting these new technologies sporadically.  The main barriers to adoption are estimating and selling the value of implementation and getting over corporate culture issues.Certain industries are more likely than others to adopt social media and Web 2.0 technologies.  According to a report by the Society for New Communications Research, media, entertainment, and technology industries are the most likely to use social media.  Heavy manufacturing, materials management, and construction are the least likely.As adoption accelerates from 2010 - 2015, social media will transform how industries operate and many of them will be forced to adapt or die.  According to an article on simplyzesty.com by Lauren Fisher, these industries include print media, politics, television, hospitality, sports, music, recruitment, advertising, public relations, and shopping.  The common thread among the change in all of these industries will be that the social media channel and internet at large will be the primary method for communicating with consumers. ccording to a blog post by David Armano on the The Harvard Business Review, social media will become more specialized in 2010 and beyond.  New platforms and adoption strategies by organizations will become more targeted in purpose.  Corporations will become more accepting of social media but will develop stricter usage policies.  In addition, social media will eventually replace email as the primary platform for sharing information to large groups.



Leveraging Social Media for Corporate Recruitment, Business Development, and Academic Learning

Today’s businesses utilize social media platforms to increase operational efficiency.  Likewise, the academia arena uses social media to foster interactive learning. The idea of leveraging social media in business and academic learning is to engage the user or student to the point where meaningful results are achieved.  The areas to be discussed here are social media’s impact on corporate recruitment, business development, and academic learning for pre-college students.


Facebook, arguably the most popular social media platform currently, is widely used by organizations across the world for recruiting employees.  These organizations leverage Facebook’s Page capabilities for content sharing which ultimately leads to brand empowerment.  Once a user becomes a fan of the company’s Page, he/she can follow all news and content that is posted.  Organizations are using this powerful tool to post messages about job openings and links to the corporate careers page of the position.  A page’s fan can share the job posting message with those in his/her own network and thus begin viral marketing.  Similarly, organizations use Pages to share information about employee referral incentives, which can be shared over again between infinite Facebook networks.  Ultimately, all the recruiting facets of Facebook Pages can lead to the overall employment brand of the company (Charney 2010).

It is safe to say many organizations have a strong desire not only to hire talented workers, but people who fit in culturally and ethically.  These organizations are turning to social media to learn more about the personal lives of potential employees.  Quite simply, all that needs to be done is type in the name of the potential employee in Google and his/her profile from all of the major social networks and blogs/wikis will display in the search results.  HR Departments are increasingly examining these profiles to learn more about the character of a potential employee (Du 2007).  There is also the story about an employee of the NFL team Philadelphia Eagles in which the employee vented about the team on a Facebook status, which resulted in termination of from the job (MJD 2009).


LinkedIn, a professional networking site, is known to be the ultimate tool for sales people to develop new business.  Quite simply, the user can conduct a People Search by inputting certain key words and pages full of possible prospects will appear.  The user can browse the profiles and choose to target the ones that seemingly can benefit from what is being offered.  Now, the user has the name, title, company name, and experience details of the prospect.  LinkedIn has the capabilities to allow common contacts to make introductions, which can sometimes work better then a cold call.  Or alternately, the user can send a direct message to the prospect and start interacting (LinkedIn Learning Center).

Social media tools for academic learning have recently become more popular.  A tool that is being widely used now is called socialmediaclassroom.com.  This is essentially a free web-based service that brings together teachers and learners and provide blogs, forums/wikis, comment, wiki, chat, social bookmarking, RSS, microblogging, widgets , and video commenting.  For teachers, resources such as syllabi, lesson plans, resource repositories, screencasts and videosare included (socialmediaclassroom.com).




Jeff Howe, a writer for Wired Magazine, sensed that he had stumbled upon a social media phenomenon while working on a story about rock bands that achieved fame through MySpace. He pitched another article to his editor at Wired.  This time the topic was about “outsourcing to the crowds”.  In June 2006, Wired magazine published Howe’s article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”, which coined the term and offered several classic examples of crowdsourcing.  (Zuckerman, 2009)

Howe provides two definitions for crowdsourcing.

     “The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an      employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined,        generally large group of people in the form of an open call.”

     “The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.” (Howe, 2006)


Crowdsourcing can be broken down into these categories: creation, prediction and organization (Catone, 2007).  Wikipedia, with many sources of user defined content, is a well know and successful example of creation crowdsourcing (Catone, 2007).  Marketocracy, an example of prediction crowdsourcing, is a community of 60,000 online stock traders that tracks the decisions of its top 100 portfolios to set the investment strategy for its mutual fund (Howe, 2006).  Digg is news social networking site that gives it members the opportunity to “digg” or “bury” headline news stories.  Digg is an example of organization crowdsourcing (Catone, 2007).  


One additional crowdsourcing category is entertainment.  Second Opinion is an iPhone app that provides users with the ability to ask a yes or no question, and then crowdsource for the answer. (Tamburro, 2010).


Who Uses Crowdsourcing?


Companies in a wide array of industries are devising ways to harness the intelligence and creativity of distributed labor. (Howe, 2006).  Listed below are several examples of corporate crowdsourcing initiatives. (openinnovators.net)


Product Ideas crowdsourcing

    * Fiat Mio - create a car
    * Open Innovation Sara Lee - open innovation portal of Sara Lee
    * P&G Open Innovation Challenge - external idea sourcing in Britain
    * Ideas4Unilever - corporate venturing
    * BMW Customer Innovation Lab - in german
    * LeadUsers.nl & Live Simplicity - Philips’ crowdsourcing platforms
    * Kraft - innovate with Kraft
    * InnovationJam* - IBM’s more internally focussed idea generation project
    * Dell IdeaStorm - external idea sourcing
    * Vocalpoint - P&G’s network for women
    * Betavine - Vodafone’s mobile app community
    * My Startbucks Idea - shaping the future of Starbucks

Branding & Design crowdsourcing

    * Spreadshirt Logo Design Contest - let community design new logo
    * Gmail M-Velope Video Competition - viral video competition
    * LEGO Factory - LEGO co-creation tool
    * Peugeot - Peugeot’s design contest
    * Muji - improving and suggesting new designs
    * Electrolux Design Lab - annual design competition for students
    * Fluevog - open shoe design
    * LEGO Mindstorms - open source robots
    * BurdaStyle - open source sewing
    * GoldCorp - the famous GoldCorp Challenge


One notable trend in crowdsourcing is using “consumers as creators” (Boutin, 2006).  Every business has customers who are sure they could design the products better themselves. So why not let them? (Boutin, 2006) 


“Crowdsourcing is a subset of what Eric von Hippel calls ‘user-centered innovation,’ in which manufacturers rely on customers not just to define their needs, but to define the products or enhancements to meet them. But unlike the bottom-up, ad-hoc communities that develop open-source software or better windsurfing gear, crowdsourced work is managed and owned by a single company that sells the results”. To paraphrase von Hippel, it relies on would-be customers' willingness to hand over their ideas to the company, either cheaply or for free, in order to see them go into production”. (Boutin, 2006) 


The idea is that if the customer designs a product, then it will be exactly what the customer wants to buy which translates into guaranteed sales. 


“Threadless, is a Chicago-based T-shirt maker whose design process consists entirely of an online contest. Each week the company receives hundreds of submissions from amateur and professional artists. Threadless posts these to its Web site, where anyone who signs up may give each shirt a score. The four to six highest-rated designs each week are put into production, but only after enough customers have pre-ordered the design to ensure it won't be a money-loser”. (Boutin, 2006)


Language translation is another widely used practice of crowdsourcing.  Twitter announced that it was crowdsourcing Tweeter volunteer linguists to translate itself into French, Italian, German and Spanish. (Grunwald, 2010)  Facebook has a similar project.


Finally, there are many examples of crowdsourcing for the common good.  The “Extraordinaries”  is an iPhone app and a micro-volunteer movement whose members use their smart phones to assist in a variety of ways.


“During your lunch break you could snap a picture of a pothole that needs patching and zap it to the proper authorities. You could report a dying elm to the parks-and-recreation department or spot a rare woodpecker for the Audubon Society.”  (Weeks, 2009)

MoveOn.org also uses crowdsourcing to assist people. HurricaneHousing.org connected displaced people with MoveOn.org members who were offering a place to stay in their homes. "With crowdsourcing in general, said [Peter] Koechley, you think, 'What time, efforts, or assets does this big group of people have, and how can they use them to the most effect?' In this case, it was an extra room." Nearly 30,000 people were housed through connections made on HurricaneHousing.org. (Bravo, 2009)


Crowdsourcing Tools

Examples of software applications that can be used to assist organizations with crowdsourcing are: Charordix, IdeaScale, Smartsheet and Imaginatik’s Idea Central Software.  Smartsheet is mainly focused in connecting the workforce.  The other applications provide the ability to collect ideas, vote on ideas, and report on winning ideas.  Charodix is the creation of the crowdsourcing software company Cambrian House.  Each tool is summarized below.



“Chaordix delivers the technology and know-how to help organizations use crowdsourcing to better perform. Delivered in a software-as-a-service model, the Chaordix crowdsourcing platform™ is an engine to call to the crowd for collective intelligence for innovation, market prediction, research discovery and brand input.” (chaordix.com)

Crowdsourcing – A simple sample

There are lots of models and variations to open innovation, but crowdsourcing in its simplest form invites crowds to submit, discuss, refine and rank ideas or other contributions via the web to arrive at what have been proven economically as the most-likely-to-succeed solutions.

simple sampel.bmp

Idea Scale

IdeaScale claims to “empower communities to drive innovation.  It provides the functionality to “collect ideas from customers [and] gives them a platform to vote, the most important ideas bubble to the top”.

 “Users--also known as the crowd--typically form into online communities, and the crowd submits solutions. The crowd also sorts through the solutions, finding the best ones.  These best solutions are then owned by the entity that broadcast the problem in the first place--the crowdsourcer--and the winning individuals in the crowd are sometimes rewarded. In some cases, this labor is well compensated, either monetarily, with prizes, or with recognition. In other cases, the only rewards may be kudos or intellectual satisfaction. Crowdsourcing may produce solutions from amateurs or volunteers working in their spare time, or from experts or small businesses which were unknown to the initiating organization. You can use IdeaScale to create your own crowdsourcing community.” (ideascale.com)


Smartsheet is the only collaboration tool that makes it possible to connect to an on-demand workforce. We make it easy for you to get work done with co-workers, clients, and vendors so it made sense to us to take it to the next step – we make it easy for you to get work done with a global workforce that’s always available. You may have heard of crowdsourcing, for example Wikipedia, where people do work for free. Smartsheet has created Smartsourcing, which is a form of paid crowdsourcing where you pay for the work to be done and have much more control over the quality of the results. Smartsourcing is a great way to expand your capacity to get work done at an affordable price. (smartsheet.com)


Idea Central Software

Idea Central Software is a robust and scalable web-based application for Collaborative Innovation and Idea Management. It is an enterprise crowdsourcing platform that allows organizations to maximize the benefits from the Collective Intelligence of their employees, customers, suppliers and other third parties. Idea Central leverages the combined brainpower of an organization to boost revenue growth and profitability, increase collaboration, build sustainability, and streamline process improvements. Its recent releases have been developed in deep collaboration with Imaginatik’s customers.

The software contains specialized features to help focus idea generation toward strategic business objectives, and to capture, develop, and share those ideas securely across an organization. Idea Central also provides a state-of-the-art review process designed to elicit high-quality insight and evaluations from decision makers, with minimum administrative overhead. Add-on modules extend the functionality and use of the system. (imaginatik.com)


Crowdsourcing Advantages

“Crowdsourcing can improve productivity and creativity while minimizing labor and research expenses. Using the Internet to solicit feedback from an active and passionate community of customers can reduce the amount of time spent collecting data through formal focus groups or trend research, while also seeding enthusiasm for upcoming products. By involving a cadre of customers in key marketing, branding, and product-development processes, managers can reduce both staffing costs and the risks associated with uncertain marketplace demand.” (Alsever, 2010)

“Crowdsourcing works well for large-scale initiatives where gathering data would be otherwise impossible. For instance, the vastness of space makes it impossible for a single astrological organization to chart. With so many amateur astronomers pointing their telescopes to the sky the odds of catching an astrological phenomenon greatly increases. And when professionals share their astrological data, the community benefits on a whole.”  (Gallagher and Savard, 2010)


Wisdom or Just Plain Dumbness

Crowdsourcing has been called the “wisdom of the crowds”.  But is it always? 

Crowdsourcing sounds good in theory—pull together a bunch of smart, motivated individuals from across the Web to create a new product or business—but in practice it is not so easy to pull off. (Schoenfeld, 2008) 

Cambrian House is a crowdsourcing business that elicited the masses for web application ideas.  The business failed, not due to a lack of ideas, but poor execution of those ideas. (Schoenfeld, 2008). 

So what does it take to make crowdsourcing work? 

Opening the corporate doors to ideas and inspiration from the collective crowd holds great potential, but there are pitfalls, warns Henry Chesbrough, executive director of the Center for Open Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley. To succeed, Mr. Chesbrough said, a company must have a culture open to outside ideas and a system for vetting and acting on them.  “In business, it’s not how many ideas you have,’ he observed. ‘What matters is how many ideas you translate into products and services.” (Lohr, 2009)

Josh Catone (2007) provides some rules for effective crowdsourcing:

  1.  Crowds should operate within constraints. To harness the collective intelligence of crowds, there need to be rules in place to maintain order.
  2. Not everything can be democratic. Sometimes a decision needs to be made, and having a core team (or single person) make the ultimate decision can provide the guidance necessary to get things done and prevent crazy ideas and groupthink from wreaking havoc on your product.
  3. Crowds must retain their individuality. Encourage your group to disagree, and try not to let any members of the group disproportionately influence the rest.
  4. Crowds are better at vetting content than creating it. It is important to note that in most of the above projects, the group merely votes on the final product; they do not actually create it (even at Cambrian House, where the group collaborates to create the product, individuals are still creating each piece on their own and the group votes on whose implementation of an idea is best).

In Kathy Sierra’s often quoted blog post called “The Dumbness of Crowds” she quotes Jaron Lanier:

"Every authentic example of collective intelligence that I am aware of also shows how that collective was guided or inspired by well-meaning individuals. These people focused the collective and in some cases also corrected for some of the common hive mind failure modes."

Sierra concludes, “No matter what, I believe that in our quest to exploit the "We" in Web, we must not sacrifice the "I" in Internet”.





Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook have become established forums for keeping in contact with old friends, meeting new friends and acquaintances.  Users create their own web page and post details about themselves on their personal profile: where they went to school, their favorite movies, work/job description, groups they belong to, interests and activities.  Users can also link to their friends on the same site, they can link photos, names, a descriptions will also appear on their web pages.


These sites are useful for exchanging information, however, they are breaching privacy since user’s personal details are circulating compromising their privacy.  Users are finding that information they intend to share with their friends finds its way into the hands of authorities, strangers, the press and the public at large. For example, job recruiters are reviewing these sites for potential revelatory information about a future employee besides traditional background checks.


Most users don’t understand that everything they post online is public information.  Social networks intention is to have their users share as much personal information about themselves as they can since more user data means better targeted advertising, more of a feeling of community, and more ways to make money from users data. 


The goal of social networks is not to bring up the concept of privacy, but to promote an open flow of information, offering users a system of rewards convincing them to reveal personal information and forget about privacy concerns. 


Establishing industry standards for privacy settings and helping users through the process of configuring privacy settings on Facebook and MySpace has not been the intent of these Social Networking sites.


Unfortunately, most users do not know the law and are liable for their publication choices just like other content publishers, such as newspapers or magazines.  Social networking users do not enjoy any degree of immunity grated to social networking sites under the law.  Some areas where users get into trouble is by posting defamatory content or content that infringes on intellectual property rights.  Since no statutory immunities exist to shield users, the standard laws pertaining to defamation and infringement apply.  If a user is found to have posted defamatory content, the users is liable even if the site can escape liability under Section 230 (see below).  Users believe they have some degree of anonymity for their statements, and in some cases they try to hide their true identity.  However, user’s identities often can be revealed through legal processes and sometimes, users suffer adverse consequences due to their social networking site, such as school discipline, forgone job offers or employment termination.


  • Laws Pertaining to Social Networking Sites

                The two popular laws used in the United States are: 

      •  Section 512© of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)-this is a United States copyright law which implements two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties.  It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works and criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself.  It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. This law was passed in October 12, 1998 by an unanimous vote in the Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended title 17 of the U.S. Code to extend the reach of copyright while limiting the liability of Online Providers from copyright infringement by their users.   
      • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act [8, 7].  This section also describes the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006 (DOPA) [1].  Second part describes the legal liability for SNS users and sites like MySpace and Facebook defeat spammers. 
        • This section immunizes websites from any liability resulting from the publication of information provided by another.  This comes up in the context of defamation but the courts have expended it to cover other sorts of claims as well.  If a users posts defamatory or illegal content, Section 230 shields the social network provider from any liability arising out of the publication.  Websites that create or develop contested information are known as “content providers” that do not benefit from the protections of Section 230. [8, 7].   
        • In addition federal states have enacted or proposed laws that would create requirements for social networking sites to monitor the presence or activities of sexual predators using the sites.  Virginia for example has enacted a law requiring sexual offenders to register their email addresses and IM screen names, and allows police officers to create mechanisms for web sites to check user information against the resulting database. [8, 7] 
        • DOPA-Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006 (DOPA) is a bill (H.R.5319) brought before the U.S. House of Representatives on May 9, 2006 by Republican Pennsylvania Representative (R-PA) Mike Fitzpatrick.  The bill if enacted, would amend the Communications Act of 1934, requiring schools and libraries that receive E-rate funding to protect minors from online predators in the absence of parental supervision when using “Commercial Social Networking Websites” and “Chat Rooms”.  The bill would prohibit schools and libraries from providing access to these types of websites to minors.  The bill would also require institutions to be capable of disabling the restrictions for “use by an adult or by minors with adult supervision to enable access for educational purposes.”  This bill is controversial because critics say that it limits access to a wide rane of websites, including many with harmless and educational material.  Arguments for the bill focus on the fear of adults contacting children on MySpace or Facebook.  The bill places the responsibility on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide clarification. 


  • Privacy issues-Case Studies

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin have compromised consumer trust by not disclosing to users when they introduced features and functionality in their applications without disclosing to users how these were affecting their privacy.  Users often had no notice of new features and were not given the opportunity to decide whether they wanted their information shared publicly or not. After the introduction of these new features user accounts returned to their default privacy settings without any warning to the users. 


Looking at Facebook who is a college oriented site allows users to publish accurate demographic data and individuals selectively disclose personal information to others in order to establish different degrees of trust and intimacy with their network.  Facebook allows visibility of the entire profile to be controlled.  By default, everyone on Facebook appears in searches of everyone else, independent of the searchers institutional affiliation.  In search results the user’s full names appear along with the profile image, the academic institution that the user is attending and the users status there.  These settings have by labeled by Facebook as “recommended” on the privacy preference page.  By default this profile information is visible to everyone else at the same institution.  Prior research in HCI has shown that users tend to not change their default settings. It appears that Facebok susers are quite oblivious, unconceorned or just pragmatic about their personal privacy.


Privacy is at risk in social networking sites, however since information is willingly provided, users can run into different risks.  The Information available within the network itself and the lack of basic privacy and security measures make it easy for third parties from hackers to government agencies to access participants data without the sites direct collaboration (already in 20003, Live Journal used to receive at least five report of ID hijacking per day).  Risks for users range from identity theft to online and physical stalking, re-identification by demographics and face using explicit identifiers with images obtained from the user profile, from embarrasement to price discrimination and blackmailing.  Identity theft is a hughe risk since users share birthdate, hometown, current residence, and current phone number publicly.   This information is used to estimate a person’s social security number and exposes them to identity theft.  One benefit as Tribe.net CEO mark Pincus notes that “social networking chaos can let users manage how public they make themselves and why and who can contact them”. 


      • MySpace and Facebook Privacy Issues

        • My Space allows the general public to search its database of members using search terms such as name, email, address, or school.  This search can be further filtered down by country, postal code etc.  If users in the search results have not changed their privacy settings from the default levels, searchers can view their full profiles with their personal information: occupation, hometown, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, published photos of themselves and their friends and family.

        • Facebook has a more limited search feature since users have to be registered with the site to conduct a search and can only view the profiles of those in their network or on their list of contacts.  Some profiles may contain cell phone numbers and home addresses.  Email always appears in the profile.

        • Users expect their information to be visible only to the people they know, and often times don’t realize how broadly their data is shared once it’s published online.  Once personal information is shared online, there is no longer any control over it and the information becomes public knowledge.

        • Default privacy settings on users individual account allow anyone to view user’s profile by anyone interested.  If default settings are set at a higher level users would have more control.  A user who did not want every detail about his or her profile available to those outside their network of friends would not consent to these actions as soon as he or she setup a profile page


      • Legal Risks in the Workplace

        • Many employers allow users by consent to use the internet for business purposes such as client contact, sales enquiries, competitive research, marketing research etc.  This information is well drafted in the fair use policy to which all parties can refer.  These guidelines for employees make a good reference point and these policy restrictions on the time spent on personal use and inappropriate sites are essential for any employer.  Inappropriate use can lead to disciplination and dismissal of an employee but at the same time bullying and harassment of a worker.  An employer can also be liable for an employees blog or twitter, leading to liability to a party affected-actions which may discipline or dismiss the employee.  Postings to Facebook done during the course of employment may lead to employee’s actions being supervised.  Employees are liable for careless words, defamatory words of an employer or third party, written grudges, unfairly denigrating a third party company are all trade libel and can cause losses for both the individual person and the business networks that he shares with online. 
        • Employees are restricted in what they can do online and surveillance is undertaken in certain circumstances.  For example, companies mine the data for clues to the activities of their employees.
        • For example, in “pay v. Lancashire Probation Service’ a probation officer was fairly dismissed after discovery that he had been involved in extreme sexual activity in his spare time with footage posted on the internet.  In another recent case, a senior police officer posted details of his own gay activities on Facebook and was warned internally, which led to his promotion being blocked.
        • Also, employees don’t have carte blanche to post what they like at home.  For example Linked in is mined to reveal social network connection to see what connections a person is building.  For example if there’s rumor of a merger between two companies, then an interested party could watch the connections being formed between the company employees and use these to confirm rumors.
        • Facebook and Twitter can be mined to find out a person’s whereabouts and activities by mining for relevant geographical information.  Ex.  This year Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra was criticized for posting information on Twitter that revealed his location while in Iraq.
        • There’s software that reveals what software a person uses to post to Twitter and that information could help an attacker hack into a person’s account.
        • Facebook who keeps track of it’s Gross national Happiness by measuring how often positive and negative words are used in Facebook user’s status updates to learn how happy it’s users are and further disseminates by calendar period.
        • Linkedin was keeping tally of which companies most successfully attract displaced employees, charts employee migration from the employment history on their personal profile.  Not all employers feel comfortable with Linkedin publishing their recruitment data.


In conclusion, online social networks are both large and loose since private personal and often sensitive information is freely and publicly provided.  This gives rise to many legal liabilities since warnings about privacy settings are ignored by users to restrict information shared with others that require them  to update the rules governing access to their data.  As social networking sites legal issues escalate the attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission stepped up to provide ways to warn companies to develop safeguards to privacy settings and maintain a trusted environment for their users. It must be concluded that most of the social networking sites need a lot of improvement in their policy.  The law must be clear enough to solve the problems of copyright to solve the problems of infringement but also the involvement of consumer and privacy organizations to foster discussions and laws on the impact of these technological developments on privacy.


The Future of Social Media and Web 3.0


Web 2.0 opened the door for social media, so what are the predictions for Web 3.0.  Current Web 2.0 search capabilities are limited.  Keyword searching can return thousands of entries, with several that are useless.  Web 3.0 promises searching that better captures the intent of the request.  While Web 2.0 uses the Internet to make connections between people, Web 3.0 will use the Internet to make connections with information.  Extending Web connections beyond computers and mobile devices is another change that may be down the road. (Strickland, 2010).



Crowdsourcing:  “The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call. The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.”




Problems: Legal Issues Resources 



Comments (5)

Laura Pertea said

at 5:49 pm on Jul 12, 2010

I've been updating since it didn't save the previous updates :( done earlier today. I do hope the changes stay.

jeneesaunders@... said

at 5:24 pm on Jul 12, 2010

This chapter is currently being updated I see. I really found it to be well written. I did have another example of where consumers are essentially "making the product". It seems to me that grocery stores are making this their new "IT" thing to do. Every time I go into a Giant I am asked to complete questions about two of the same products just one has slightly different appearance, taste, smell, ect. The companies are making new products just the way we want them to taste like ect. I find it to be a grand thought, why not give the people what they want. I'm sure it saves them millions on wasted clearance items.

Jerry said

at 6:44 pm on Jul 10, 2010

I think that a section belongs either here or Chapter 10 (Enterprise Social Networking) about what makes Social Media as Collaboration distinct from Enterprise Social Networks (ESN). ESN, as we have it defined in Chapter 10, can include external and customer facing sites. What makes Social Media as Collaboration different? I don't know if this is a problem with my chapter 10 or this chapter, though.

Christina Martin said

at 3:17 pm on Jul 5, 2010

Are location-based social networks extending ourselves to far into technology? It just seems that everthing these days are done via the Internet; dating,paying bills, and chatting on a regular basis. Now we have a way to track where we have been and sync it to facebook. We can let our friends or anyone know where we are currently at (i.e.: the mall, the grocery store, or in class) via an online check-in service. I just wonder what motives people really have behind utilizing this type of service. I can surely understand wanting to remember where you've been and using this service as a personal diary, but if your page is not set to private then what purpose does it serve to let the world know your location? Does it serve to reflect a particular image given you display alluring places you've visited, or is it an esteem builder to make you feel you're productive in your days? Just curious...


terbush@... said

at 5:03 pm on Jul 2, 2010

Be sure to give us a definition of Social Media and why we're talking about it in a book about virtual teaming. then maybe some stuff on the types of social media and how enterprises are using it. Remember it is in the section on Enterprises and collaboration.

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