Social media is increasingly being woven into the fabric of 21st century culture. It has even been named as one of the top 10 Chief Information Officer (CIO) priorities and issues for 2012 (van der Meulen, 2012). A major issue is how aggressively CIOs and their teams are making the social tools indispensable.
Social media is commonly known as the Web 2.0, applications and technologies that allow users to create, edit, and distribute content (Laudon & Traver, 2012). This includes web-based communities, social networking sites, video-sharing sites, blogs, wikis, and so on (wikipedia, 2012).
This media takes the form of several technologies. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging, and Weibo. For example, in July 2012 alone, complete.com estimated that there were more than 160 million unique site visits to Facebook (Complete.com/facebook, 2012).
Twitter is based in San Francisco but is used by individuals in nearly every country in the world. Twitter is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish (Twitter, 2012). In May, 2011, Twitter.com surpassed 200 million tweets per day (Schonfeld, 2011). In July, 2012, Twitter attracting an estimated 45 million unique visitors (Complete.com/Twitter, 2012).
LinkedIn, one of the largest professional social networks, is predicted to have more than 5.3 billion professional searches in 2012 (LinkedIn, 2012). As of June, 2012, more than two new members per second enrolled in the site.
YouTube, founded in 2005, is the one the premier online video communities (YouTube, 2012). More than 72 hours of video are uploaded each minute and more video is uploaded in one month more than the three major U.S. networks created in 60 years.
Another other technology is that of blogging. Technorati, a blog search engine, tracks more than 33,200 business blogs alone (Technorati, 2012).
China's leading content portal is Sino.com. Weibo is Sina.com's Twitter-like social media service, which boasts of 200 million registered users (FlorCruz and Shao, 2011).
Previous research has explored several facets of electronic social media in the business world. In addition, researchers have studied user trust, motivational factors, online privacy concerns, media effects, and negative online behavior.
Forrester (2011) surveyed 200 U.S.-based marketers at medium and large companies to evaluate and articulate how effectively companies listen and engage online with their customers. Nearly all respondents, 97%, indicated that they have adopted social media tactics and 50% claim that although it is not a core function, they are serious about their social media efforts.
A study of the Fortune 50 firms examined each company website to determine the implementation and usage of Twitter (Case & King, 2011). Researchers examined web pages of the 2009 Fortune 50 firms as listed on the CNN Money. Results indicate that the majority, 54%, of firms have a Twitter account. Moreover, 37% of these firms have multiple accounts. Although usage varies by industry sector, 85% of the companies utilizing Twitter use the technology for news distribution. Twitter was used to a much lesser extent for marketing/promotions, customer service, and human resources and, therefore, has potential to be a marketing opportunity for each organization.
An examination of undergraduate students found the user's perceived playfulness and perceived value of online connections have significant positive effects on their willingness to pay other members of social network sites (Han and Windsor, 2011). The results suggest that user's trust generated from social activities can be transferred to their trust in business transactions on social network sites, thereby influencing the willingness to pay.
Another study of social networking services examined the motivational factors of users (Kim, Shim, and Ahn, 2011). …