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”
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.