In this research I have applied a social constructivist approach, that implies that social media is seen rather as a social phenomenon enabled by technology (user generated content) and not the other way around (a technology that enables social action). In other words, social media is a phenomenon that is shaped by our socioeconomic realities and thus also unfolds its impact within this context. By deploying the term currencies I also wanted to signalise that our current understanding of social media only represent a temporary insight into how networked technologies develop and influence human interaction. I have approached social media through sociology and not through technology. The most important was to understand why people use certain social media tools instead of trying to understand how these technologies function and create impact.
Particularly important in this regard was the phenomenon of converging virtualphysical realities. Social media users stop differentiating between their activities in virtual or physical spaces. These two realms converge and augment each other since interaction with both realms is increasingly made possible at higher speeds and in real time. Eventually we can conclude that measuring the impact of social media is measuring social capital.
Quantitative and qualitative measures are both available to measure and monitor how social capital is being formed. Quantitative measurements can be further enhanced through dashboards that automate data collection and analysis across various social media platforms. These tools also help to use quantitative data to better steer communication and interaction via social media.
About the author
Márton Kocsev has been working with GIZ on various innovative technology projects within the private as well as educational sectors. His main interests include innovation brokerage, green technologies, and social entrepreneurship in low-income countries. He has been involved in various projects on one-to-one computing, interactive learning, and business information systems. He was part of the team that implemented Ethiopia’s first open innovation hub, iceaddis. Between 2012-2013 he coordinated a BMZ fasttrack measure on Green Skills in Egypt as well as supported the establishment of two innovation hubs (icecairo, icealex). He currently works as advisor for “networks and communities” in the department Global Knowledge Cooperations.
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