New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj, Vera Ivanaj and Rabi N. Kar
Chapter 6: Implications for multinational enterprises seeking a sustainable virtual environment using the building blocks of social media
Social media symbolize a new and challenging world for multinational enterprises. These media have democratized information and empowered ordinary citizens with the ability to organize, share and voice their opinions like never before (Boyd and Ellison, 2008; Dryer, 2010). Social media employ mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, create, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content. They seem to have created a brand new landscape of communication and therefore a new approach to doing business. They support interactive dialogue and ‘introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals’ (Kietzmann et al., 2011, p. 250). Politicians, artists, athletes and enterprises engage in the use of social media, and seem no longer to be able to persevere without them. Everybody wants to become your ‘friend’ online, often disregarding potential threats and challenges of this open field. International companies have to be careful not to get on the wrong side of a tweet by a disgruntled customer; the same with artists if they ‘offend’ a fan or do not respond to the fan as they expected. Social media are very powerful (Boyd and Ellison, 2008) and yet many international companies are reluctant or unable to develop sustainable and global strategies to allocate resources to engage effectively with media and their respective supporters. One reason behind this ineptitude is a lack of understanding of what social media are, and the various forms they can take.
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