Social Media for Research

I’ve been using social media for professional purposes for a number of years now. During this time, I’ve had several conversations with colleagues over lunch and on other occasions about why I do what I do and what I get out of it. To date, I’ve not written these thoughts up (although some conversations have been converted into blog posts on this site). Recently, I’ve come across a presentation by Ian McCarthy, who’s a Professor at Simon Fraser University, which does exactly that. In his presentation, Ian reflects on how he uses social media for academic purposes. Interestingly, he does so with help of an article he’s recently published in the journal Business Horizons. Now, that’s applied research 😉 You can find his presentation embedded below. For my German readers, here’s a related presentation by my colleague Alexander Stocker entitled ‘Why research institutions should be using social media’.

Call for Papers: SSCR Special Issue on Social Media

Here’s an interesting call for papers for a special issue of the journal Social Science Computer Review on Best Practices in Social Media at Non-profit, Public, Education, and Healthcare Organizations. There are still a few days left until the submission deadline on July 30, 2013, so if you have a manuscript that’s almost done and fits the theme, it may be worthwhile giving it a try. Below is a short description of what the editors are looking for.

The special issue of SSCR aims to investigate and understand different aspects of social media use in government, nonprofit, education, and health care organizations. We are soliciting original contributions in the form of evidence-based , “best practices” studies, scholarship on legal and ethical issues, case studies, and empirical research. All lenses of inquiry , including strategic, organizational, behavioural, legal,  economic, and technical are encouraged. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary and international research that develops and applies multiple perspectives.

My Top 3 Articles for 2012

I really like Google Alerts and think they are a great resource for researchers and practitioners alike.  I’ve subscribed to a number of keywords, e.g. dynamic capabilities and online communities, and thus get fresh articles delivered by email several times a week. I have made it a habit to go through them and it now feels a bit like reading the morning paper ;-). Admittedly, it is a rather time-consuming process, yet I do feel it helps me significantly to stay up to date in my field. Continue reading My Top 3 Articles for 2012

Call for Papers: Journal of Strategic Information Systems

Here is an interesting call for papers for those of you studying social media from a strategic perspective. The special issue of the Journal of Strategic Information Systems is entitled “Strategic and policy perspectives on social media technologies” and will be edited by Sirkka Jarvenpaa, Sandy Staples, and Robin Teigland. The submission deadline is November 30, 2013. The description reads as follows:

The widespread diffusion and proliferation of social media technologies and tools present organizations of all sizes and shapes with numerous strategic and policy-oriented opportunities and challenges.  Moreover, such technologies and tools have fundamentally transformed how various external and internal stakeholder relationships are influenced and managed, how brand loyalty is built, how talent is attracted and employment commitment is built, how innovations (products, services, business models, processes) are created and appropriated, how knowledge is created and shared both within and across organizational boundaries, how funding is raised, how control is exercised, how policies are developed and diffused, and how laws are interpreted. This special issue invites papers that build our understanding of these phenomena.

SNA Courses and Summer Schools in 2013

I’ve been closely following the offerings for courses with a focus on social network analysis over the past couple of years. Roughly two years ago, I compiled a list of events taking place in Europe. Back then, I decided for an introductory course taking place in Trier, Germany, which I really enjoyed. Recently, I’ve repeated my search and here is a selection of a few, slightly more international, courses that are of particular interest to me:

Although the Sunbelt conference is conveniently close this year, the courses offered are fairly short. Therefore, I’m likely to attend the Greenwich course which is spread out over a week. Interestingly, Christopher Tunnard has also converted the spreadsheet I linked to earlier into a website listing all SNA courses with a business focus around the world.

The AoM Conference 2012 – Impresssions and Reflections

The first couple of days at the Academy of Management Conference went by quickly and it has been very interesting. I have had the chance to see a number of people present whose ideas I have intensively dealt with over the past year or two. I spent most of my time at the OCIS PhD Consortium and the Professional Development Workshops listed below.

Here is a quick wrap-up of the events which I participated in and what has been most interesting to me about them.

OCIS PhD Consortium

The consortium was extremely well organized and thought through so kudos to Youngjin Yoo for organizing it. I usually pay much attention to the format of these events. In this case, I really liked the mix of student involvement and feedback/advice from senior faculty. We started the workshop with roundtable discussions of our own proposals. My group mentor was Sirkka Jarvenpaa. Due to the small size of the groups, all participants had actually read the papers, were able to give detailed, quality feedback, and ask very targeted questions. The morning roundtable session was followed by a number of stimulating talks by senior scholars, such as Michael Barrett and Robert Fichman. The keynote, and my personal favorite, was the talk by Noshir Contractor on building strong academic networks as a form of career development. Last but least, we were asked to present posters of our research at a reception of the OCIS division. Offering food and drinks certainly helped to bring a lot of spectators to the exhibition room and gave us the chance to present our ideas to a critical audience of a number of potential reviewers and journal editors.

PDW on Social Media

The Social Media PDW line-up of speakers read much like a ‘Who’s who’ in research on social media and online communities. I perceived the presence of so many renowned scholars as slightly intimidating, however the discussions at the PDW were colleagial and even the most senior scholars were very personable. Looking at the structure and process of the PDW, I liked the idea of having several panelists present only 2-3 minutes in order to raise key questions researchers in the field are facing. The most interesting contribution, to my mind, was Steven Borgatti’s and Jerry Kane’s intent to blend  social media research with social network research using danah boyd’s affordances.

PDW on Sociomateriality

One of the talks I was particularly looking forward to was the one by Wanda Orlikowski who is an advocate of an approach called sociomateriality. Yet, most striking to me was not the methodological discussion surrounding this approach, but instead the research design used by Wanda in one of her recent studies called ‘Getting the truth’: exploring the material grounds of institutional dynamics in social media. In her study, Wanda contrasted how travel ratings on TripAdvisor, an online travel rating site, and a standard British travel guide by the AA are constructed, the former encompassing a mass of user-generated content whereas the latter is produced by paid experts. One the questions repeatedly posed about research concerning online communities is ‘What is different about online communities compared to offline ones?’. Wanda’s example about how these ratings come about was a superb example of where to look for these differences.

CfP: Special Issue on Social Media in Business and Education

The Journal of Enterprise Information Management (JEIM) invites submission of quality manuscripts for its Special Issue on Social Media in Business and Education.

The aim of the Special Edition is to explore Web 2.0 & Web 3.0 technologies, including Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Wikis and YouTube, etc, for business and education exploitation. The next generation of social media will involve social networking, document sharing, collaboration and interoperability. JEIM will consider evolving managerial, academic and pedagogical approaches and raise the profile of research in technology-enhanced applications; spread good practice in the use of Web 2.0 & Web 3.0 technologies for business and learning; and facilitate collaboration between practitioners, researchers, and policy makers. Manuscripts for the Special Issue on Social Media in Business and Education will include, but are not limited to:

  • Web 2.0 & Web 3.0 in business/education 
  • Enterprise 2.0 
  • Impact of Web 2.0 on organisational strategies 
  • e-Learning and Social Media 
  • Social Computing and social networks 
  • Facebook in business/education 
  • Micro-blogs and Twitter in business/education 
  • Wikis in business/education 
  • Blogs in business/education 
  • YouTube in business/education 
  • Collaboration and KM using Web 2.0 in business/education 
  • Mashups based inter-organisational collaborative services 
  • Semantic web applications and developments 
  • The future of Virtual Learning Environments 
  • The future of the university lecture

Social Bookmarking @Delicious and Employee Innovativeness

Recently, I discovered a very interesting study by Gray and colleagues published in the journal MIS Quarterly. The researchers scrutinize the bookmarking service Delicious and its impact on employee innovativeness. I’ve included a key outcome below:

“Being able to demonstrate that social bookmarking system use can enhance personal innovativeness is a major milestone for Web 2.0 research, which to date has lacked empirical studies that point to the organizational value of such systems (Gray et al., 2011, p. 639)”.


Gray, P., Parise, S., & Iyer, B. (2011). Innovation Impacts of Using Social Bookmarking Systems. Management Information Systems Quarterly, 35(3), 629–643. Retrieved from