First Assignment : After viewing the video and reading this lesson, post your thoughts on an organization’s management team deciding to implement internal social media platforms. Do you feel such platforms are beneficial for both the employees and the organization? You might choose to reflect on the benefits, obstacles, and opportunities of social media in a distributed workforce. Consider social media to be broader than just Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. In this context, social media can include more business-oriented platforms such as Slack and Skype. Guidelines Remember that I am not looking for your opinion or personal thoughts. Avoid statements such as "I think," "I feel," "in my opinion," etc. Instead, state your argument as a fact and support it with relevant evidence and be sure to include citations. First assignment: First assignment material 1: How Social Media Has Impacted Businesses Technology has changed the way businesses interact with customers and each other. In the last few decades, we've seen the birth and growth of smartphones; tablets; wearable technology; sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter; wireless Internet; and thousands of things in between (adapted from Smith, 2015, p. 1). Here are some business aspects that have changed thanks to social media: customer service: Before social networking sites existed, a customer who'd had a negative experience with a business might have told a few people about their experience. Today, though, they can post on any number of sites, dramatically increasing the number of people who know about the experience. As a result, "social media has required businesses to invest in better customer service—which, nobody can deny, is a good thing” (Smith, 2015, p. 2). research: Businesses and their customers can use social media to obtain all types of information—information that has larger reach and a longer shelf life: “Research...shows that the life expectancy of a story posted on the web is 2.6 days, compared to 3.2 days when a story is shared on social media” (Gaitho, 2018, p. 8). geographic reach: Social media has allowed businesses to increase sales beyond their current physical location. Businesses that once relied primarily on local customers can now use social media to sell to customers in other countries. business relationships: Businesses that aspire to make more and more connections would seem to be operating at the ideal time, as "this is the age of promoting yourself and allowing your personal brand to be parallel to your business" (Davis, 2018, p. 2). According to Davis (2018), it's important for today's businesses to be mindful of how they interact with their customers; social media has created the need for open, engaging, personal, and transparent business communications. Fun fact: Instagram has replaced business cards! marketing: Because social media can reach numerous potential and current customers, investing in a social media presence allows organizations to obtain more customer feedback and adjust marketing accordingly. Competition has increased thanks to social media as well, since "viral content has become such a crucial success factor for many businesses that they invest large portions of their marketing budget toward creating content that gets passed around and shared" (Smith, 2015, p. 3). Both Facebook and Instagram can help companies promote products and services, making social media marketing "a stellar campaign for the smaller companies that are looking to just create brand awareness" (Davis, 2018, p. 2). Finally, the information that companies gather from social media can help them understand the timing and reasons for customer purchases and leverage them accordingly (Quick Marketing Group, 2019). human resources: Social Media now plays a part in the hiring process: "According to CareerBuilder’s 2016 social media recruitment survey, 60% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates" (Gaitho, 2018, p. 6). First assignment material 2: Information Flows Jones and George (2014) identify four communication networks in order to discuss how information flows within groups and teams (descriptions below adapted from pp. 510–511): wheel network: Information flows to and from one central member of the group. chain network: Members communicate with one another in a predetermined sequence. circle network: Group members communicate with others who are similar to them in experiences, beliefs, areas of expertise, background, office location, or even where they sit when the group meets. all-channel network: Found in teams, this type of network is characterized by high levels of communication: Every team member communicates with every other team member. First assignment material 3: Facebook's Workplace Facebook offers a tool called Workplace that many companies use to increase collaboration among their employees. Workplace looks and feels like Facebook's signature interface, but operates in a company-specific environment with no third-party advertising. Companies use Workplace in many different ways. Teams can use it to collaborate on a team level, with information shared only among team members or at a certain company site. Using Workplace at an enterprise level, a company can share information with everyone employed there—for example, a CEO might use Workplace to record a video discussing earnings, describing a significant transaction (such as a merger, acquisition, or divestiture), or simply wishing everyone a happy New Year. Staff are encouraged to "like," comment on, and share posts, just as they would on Facebook. Some companies hold their team meetings via Workplace, which is helpful when members are remote and do not have opportunities to regularly meet in person. Virtual meetings through Workplace help people stay connected and focused, recreating the experience of working closely together, even when they're oceans apart. Like Facebook itself, Workplace offers instant messaging and the ability to edit and remove posts. It can also be used for workplace polling and Q&A. From a technical perspective, Workplace is a contained, secure environment that can incorporate a company's single sign-on process—staff can use their company-issued username and password to access Workplace instead of having to create a new set. First assignment material 4: Workplace's Growth and Competition According to the Workplace home page, as of June 2019 there were over 30,000 organizations using the platform (Facebook, 2019). Previously, over 14,000 organizations worldwide used it, "up from 1,000 at the end of its private beta" (Finnegan, 2017, p. 2). According to Finnegan (2017), Workplace's competition comes from a number of different companies, which push platforms such as IBM Connections, Jive, Yammer, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Atlassian Stride (Finnegan, 2017, p. 3). Finnegan does note that these platforms, while similar to Workplace, do have slightly varying functions. Workplace has two types of pricing: a premium option and a free standard tier. According to Finnegan, in April 2017, Workplace began to include additional third-party business tools in its premium package, integrating Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Dropbox, and BlueJeans. As a result of such integrations, users can not only share information, but directly collaborate, without leaving the platform (Finnegan, 2017, p.5).