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Social media

I have been thinking about social media. What it is, and what its impact is on people and businesses. Social media seems to be two different things. From the user perspective, it is any platform or connecting set of sites for sharing information with
friends, colleagues, or other interested parties. From the  businesses perspective it is any platform and connecting APIs that collect user data for marketing and apps for ecommerce transactions.

How do we use it as individuals, as employees and as businesses?
    As individuals the use of social media presents new capabilities and allows expanded connections across
the globe and giving immediate access to communicate in several ways to people in ones social network.
   As employees, it represents several potential issues.  Info that individuals post up on social media sites can impact employment, even inadvertently. New businesses exist just to check social media content as a part of background checks on employees. And there have been numerous cases of employees saying things on social media sites that got around or went viral and caused problems.
   As businesses, control of social media content about that business becomes important to make sure that messaging to the public is consistent and not confusing. Also, if social media marketing is used for market analysis, it is important to be sure that the social media sphere is really related to the business.

As an IT Manager, social media has been a boon and a bane.    On one hand, it has created many opportunities. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Google, and others have created many jobs and make it big catering to people's desire to connect.  Yet there is a darker side to this too.  Social media has required new policies to be implemented.  New rules in many cases about what sites are accessible.  Many social media sites have been rampant viral vectors and many social media accounts have been hacked, leading to identity theft.  This adds to the workload for the IT department, and is difficult to deal with because the IT department isn't in charge of the servers at that social media site. On a larger scale, many businesses have damaged themselves trying to retool to run on the social media sites.  It causes grief for everyone as the entire IT infrastructure undergoes an upheaval to accommodate new technologies.  This is often has no payoff, and can damage a business.

Social media is still in its infancy. Facebook keeps changing it's look and feel. Google+ is new and off to a rocky start. Twitter seems to be mostly past the fail whale stage, but doesn't really have a profit model in place. The businesses side of social media keep adapting, looking for new ways to be the next big thing or to stay on top. And all of this ignores one key factor; the users. The money is rolling in, but what is it really doing for the people who make the social media truly social?