Donnerstag, 6. Dezember 2012

Six functional building blocks of social media platforms

In their paper "Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media" Kietzmann et al. (2011) present a (honeycomb) framework that defines social media by using seven functional building blocks. The blocks are intended to provide a better understanding of the audience of a particular social media platform and their engagement needs:
  • Identity represents the exent to which users reveal their identities in a social media setting.
  • Conversations represents the extent to which users communicate with other users in a social media setting.
  • Sharing represents the extent to which users exhange, distribute, and receive content.
  • Presence represents the extent to which users can know if other users are accessible.
  • Relationships represents the extent to which users can be related to other users.
  • Reputation represents the extent to which users can identify the standing of others, including themselves, in a social media setting.
  • Groups represents the extent to which users can form communities and sub-communities.
The functionality of the six building blocks and the implications are visualized in two honeycombs:


This graphical representation can be used to contrast the functionality of different platforms: Facebook would be all about relationship and not so much about sharing or groups, whereas for LinkedIn, the focus lies on identity, reputation and relationship.

For those who wish to develop strategies for monitoring, understanding, and responding to different social media activities the paper offers a guideline — the 4 Cs: cognize, congruity, curate, and chase:

  • Cognize is an intense monitoring process of the social media landscape in which the company and its competitors operate.
  • Congruity refers to the match between the company's objectives and the honeycomb pattern of a social media platform.
  • Curate covers two aspects: the understanding of how often and when a firm should chime into conversations on a social media platform and the curation of content from different sources. 
  • Chase represents the dynamic aspect: the constant chase for information about social media activities of customers for example, about platform evolution and migration flows between old and new platforms and the reaction of competitors.
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Kietzmann, J.H., Hermkens, K., Ian P. McCarthy, I.P., Silvestre, B.S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons 54, 241 - 251. Google Scholar.

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