Mohammed A Razzaque, The University of New South Wales
While social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and others allow their users to
communicate with other users via a shared connection, they also enable them to draw power
from one another. This new user empowerment of social networks has important implications
for marketers. This paper examines how marketers can use such networks as innovative tools
to communicate and interact with customers, to gain insights into their behaviour and to
improve their marketing efforts. The paper also looks at the ethical implications of using
social networks for marketing purposes and highlights future research directions.
Social networking: an Introduction
Social networking is a branch of social science that applies to a wide range of human
organizations, big or small. The study of social networking provides an understanding of the
mappings connecting one individual to others; helps evaluate the social capital of that
individual and can help identify primary groups and cliques (Ethier, 2008). Social capital
consists of the ability to draw on the resources of the network members (Kadushin, 2000, as
quoted in Ethier, 2008). Due to the unprecedented advancement of IT and the Internet during
the last decade, the world has witnessed the debut of online social networks such as MySpace,
Facebook, Bebo and many others. These are a variant of social media such as Blogs, Wikis,
YouTube etc. with unique characteristics, making them popular to different user groups.
Online social networks are platforms which allow individuals to connect and communicate [continues]
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