I used to think Twitter was a fad that was going to pass, despite the constant feedback about its utility that I was receiving from Smith students. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want another piece of “keep in touch” technology.
Eventually, though, I was convinced to start my own Twitter account (DeanAnand, if you’re interested). I have to admit, it is proving to be a great way for me to stay in contact with students, alumni and friends of the Smith School. Count me as another reluctant convert to the world of microblogging, and another member of the vast online community.
Social media now dominates our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine a decade ago. We’re not just tethered to email any longer. How many of us check our Facebook or LinkedIn accounts several times a day? My faculty colleagues at the Smith School are trying to tease out the challenges and pitfalls of social media, which represents both a fascinating window into the public hive mind and an enormous—if sometimes difficult to collect—treasure trove of data about almost every aspect of consumer behavior.
In this issue of Research@Smith you’ll get a glimpse of the many different research projects and papers underway at the Smith School dealing with social media. Most are cross-functional, with faculty from several different departments working together on projects that span social listening and monitoring, network structures and connections, and strategies to use these tools effectively. I hope you’ll find our results useful, and you’ll continue to follow us as we develop best practices for the digital world.
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