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University of Auckland Bachelor of Commerce Post Graduate Honors Dissertation Submission for
ESSICA MAHER (June, 2010)
This is the alternative version of the documentation which constitutes the primary submission for the University of Auckland dissertation for Jess Maher has been included in the following pages, please access these through the Contents Menu included.
The discussion and awareness of social networking sites (SNSs) within the mainstream and media in the past few weeks alone has been increasing rapidly. The world has been overrun with talk of social networks in recent years. For example in the weeks prior to submission of this review there was a story on ASB Business Reports about use of social networking for business (3 News, 2010), followed by me “attending” a wedding overseas via Skype just last week! We are currently experiencing a 'worldwide revolution in information and communications technologies and it is causing fundamental changes in our lives' (NZ Government, 2006). Such changes in technology, intrinsically require changes in the structure and processes of a society (MED, 2006, p7). Realistically, despite all else, the evidence shows ‘that in an increasingly global world, people must be willing to change and adapt or they simply get left behind’ (Friedman, 2007).
This research review itself was conducted in three stages. For this first review process, I considered my own insights developed whilst sourcing and researching information relevant to the topics. For each of the topics; NZ, SMEs and SNSs, an initial individual review broadly utilises the “Define, Align, Refine” rings model which sets them on course for integrated review. This in itself has been based on utilising the three circle Venn model to record notation and summaries from the various articles considered. A theme of threes came up quickly when I started looking through various fields and disciplines. As such I too have opted for carrying through three “section” areas of the review undertaken. Initially working on defining the topic area, the secondary focus was on aligning these definitions and area specific trends within conceptualisations from elsewhere, and exploring how they overlap.
This process enabled several insights to be uncovered, surrounding the digital divide & e-government initiatives, generational differences in technology use and approach general themes across these fields and well as some of the repercussions of these societal influences on other aspects of our lives. I will then briefly explore some of the available and existing options and alternative views on tool adaptation and further explore some of the themes uncovered in further detail, before considering the inevitable issues and ongoing concerns across these fields within the themes. And the final part of this section will focus on the inevitable issues and complications which are uniquely set to rise as the “digital environment” continues to develop and change.
The ICTs now enable us to utilise our networks faster, enable them to span further and create almost unlimited uses (MED, 2007). Limited by the requirements for submission I am not able to expand greatly on all of these issues and will merely highlight what have been considered to be the most important of these aspects. The virtual version of this report, acts to both supplement and support this review by hosting further information of relevance (your attention has been drawn within these specific areas throughout the document) and encourage a wider dissemination of research findings. While the influence of Facebook was felt years ago, it is only beginning to be extended into the minds of the mainstream, that there could potentially be more to it? I attended a “network seminar” through the university on Wednesday, where I had opportunity to casually survey opinions of the majority. I started to really understand the lack of perceived value and ambiguity surrounding SNSs broadly, as well as concerns about security of personal data when hosting documents such as CVs online. The following day there was a story on Campbell Live about Urgent Couriers successful use of Twitter (Campbell Live, 2010). Ironically, another two seminars[i] in the same field are taking place on the submission date of this review.