The strength of weak ties
I have more than a thousand friends, can tell you what Shaquille O’Neal and Paris Hilton are thinking of right now and got my last job without ever having applied for it. No, I’m not a celebrity or a multi-millionaire. I’m a citizen of the newly ‘flattened’ world [ (Friedman, 2007) ] and an avid user of Social Networking Sites (SNS’s). SNS’s such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are rewriting the way individuals communicate and express themselves. With the help of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, mashups and other social websites, new and creative ways of communication are being developed, transgressing geographic and cultural boundaries (Fu et al., 2007) [ (IBM, 2007) ]. So, what are social networking sites? Boyd and Ellison (2007) define them as web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. Aided by the proliferation of laptops, erosion of the traditional concept of office hours and working from home, these SNS’s are having a major impact on business networking, marketing, human resources, customer relations and even employee motivation and loyalty! [ (MessageLabs, 2007) ] A review of existing academic research suggests that since the advent of SNS’s, majority of the research is focused on defining what SNS’s are, how they are structured and why they exist. Very little research goes beyond into the realm of analysing a SNS and discussing its possible impacts on organisations. The purpose of this research is to analyse a specific SNS – Twitter, which has garnered a lot of attention in the popular media. Its phenomenal growth since its inception suggests that it has the potential to make a huge impact on organisations worldwide and through this paper, I aim to...