Unpacking the Social Media Phenomenon

I received a Google Alert to a new social media article by Kietzmann and colleagues yesterday morning. Having a brief look at it, I was intrigued by the social media honeycomb they produced with theories listed in each domain of functionality, including research questions that should be addressed in the future. You can find the honeycomb and the research agenda below. Trying to trace the development of the honeycomb, I came across another recent article by a similar set set of authors. Digging a bit deeper, I realized that the honeycomb has been around for a while. The earliest version I found was published by nform, a consultancy, in 2007. While the framework does not seem to be particularly innovative, I appreciate the authors’ effort to establish a research agenda for the field of social media. Let’s see if the suggested questions will be picked up by other researchers in the future or whether some of the combs will disappear or change over time.


Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241–251. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.005

Kietzmann, J. H., Silvestre, B. S., McCarthy, I. P., & Pitt, L. (2012). Unpacking the social media phenomenon: towards a research agenda. Journal of Public Affairs. doi:10.1002/pa.1412

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David Wagner

Professor & Academic Director at Munich Business School, Associate Director at MUUUH! Next, Head of Research at Association for Community Management (BVCM)

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