Social Networks and the Business World

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Social Networks and the Business World

Post  SBonthu on Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:10 am

Article Link:

The article talks about Collaborative filtering, a key component of using social networks for different purposes. Here's a little bit more about this:
Collaborative filtering systems can produce personal recommendations by computing the similarity between your preference and the one of other people.

Social Network Theory and its principles are applied by more and more companies in a way that some of us might not be aware of yet. So what we buy, how we rate products/services, post in forums, pictures we upload or present of ourselves on the web is significantly influencing other, likeminded individuals. In return we are influenced by the network cluster we belong to for a specific habit and the like.

list of various industry and application examples:

Social Networking platforms
There are the obvious social networking online plattforms. Among them are the open business and personal contact manegement oriented like , openbc, friendster or the inivitation only communities like asmallworld. Either planned or already implemented users can take advantage of added services (search functionality, messaging) by paying a monthly fee 10< USD. Furthermore, there are the rather dating/partner match making plattforms like match or eharmony.

Most of today's ecommerce sites use collaborative filtering to improve sales, cross-,up- and downselling. A prominent example are Amazon's recommendations based on various user behaviours on their website.

Tapping into our musical tastes Last FM, Genielab or Pandora present us with streaming music. Here the main business model lies in linking to the respective ecommerce sites like Apple's iTunes.

The same applies to the area of what we might want to read next which also serves ecommerce purposes.

Movies and more
MovieLens is a free service provided by GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota. Whether, you want to book a hotel, whole vacation there are numerous examples of collaborative filtering apps on websites.

The most prominent example for sharing, managing and searching for pictures is Flickr or myspace. The latter gaining revenues from online-ads.

Search engines
As I have elaborated in an earlier entry on google bombs the network structure (ties) play an important role in search engine algorithms.

Knowledge Base and OpenSource
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia builds on the power of decentralized, voluntary collaboration building an enourmous depository of multi-language information. Whether it was the development of Linux, Mozilla/Firefox or MySQL all rely on and consist of social networks. Further examples of openSource projects can be found at Sourceforge.

SNA Consulting
As we can see the character and concepts of networks is mainly utilized for recommendations. Actual applications of SNA is done by a few companies and consultants like Rob Cross, IBM, Orgnet or Visiblepath. These companies try to uncover the informal networks within organisations to improve knowledge sharing, initiate change or bridging silos.


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