My first year of college I felt lost and didn’t know what I wanted to study. After reading Bill Gates’ “Business @ The Speed of Thought” I instantly knew I wanted to get involved in technological innovation. Gates predicted many innovative technologies in this early 2000’s novel including ride sharing, experience sharing, and the rise of social media.
It seems like most people in class are interested in social media due to the activity on other posts on this topic, so I’ll elaborate a bit more on one of Gates’ thoughts on the positive and negative aspects of social media. In today’s age of rapid mass-communication, both fans as well as critics can quickly and easily spread their opinions to a potentially unlimited number of people. This is a double-edged sword for brands. The existence of social networks has given rise to limitless marketing opportunities, yet also presents the risk of creating serious crisis situations. Consider the phenomenon of virality, where something spreads quickly and ubiquitously across social networks and the internet. Virality can be either positive or negative, and making companies or campaigns go viral in a positive sense can be groundbreaking for their growth and image. If something goes viral for negative reasons, however, a critical and tricky public relations crisis arises. It can be nearly impossible to stop a negative viral message from spreading across the internet, reaching millions of people, and tarnishing the creators reputation. Because of this, companies need to be cautious about the content they produce and the way they project it to the world.
In today’s context, consider the Pepsi advertisement with Kendall Jenner that ran in 2017. Many people found it to be tasteless and offensive, and this caused a viral outcry across the internet against Pepsi. On the other side of things, positive virality can make creators become a household name. Consider the case of the ALSA (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association) “Ice Bucket Challenge” which Gates participated in himself. If you aren’t familiar with this, do a quick Google search and you will see just how widespread the ice-bucket challenge became. The campaign went completely viral and ended up raising $220 million for ALS organizations worldwide.
Is this instant access to the global populations thoughts and feelings a marvel of modern technology or a wild west network capable of granting power to those with malicious intentions?
In a lot of ways, Facebook is the ultimate Orwellian “Big Brother”. It is a massive machine that constantly collects personal information about every one of its 2 billion monthly users and then provides this information back to business owners who can then utilize this social media giant along with all of its data as a marketing platform. (Every business should be serious about using Facebook as a marketing platform I use it for Vitris and the targeting is incredible.) Just imagine how much information Facebook collects about its users on a daily basis; Mary changes her relationship status, John posts about his new car as well as checks into the dealership where he bought it, Frank moves to Philadelphia from New York City; it goes on and on. Everybody on Facebook is providing at least some of their personal information, and many people are providing a significant amount. Facebook’s users provide information about their age, where they live, what their interests are, where they were educated, what their activities are, and even who their friends are. From a data and analytics standpoint, this is incredible. Essentially 2 billion people have opted to provide countless pieces of their personal information and behavior, and businesses are able to utilize it at their will for their digital marketing efforts.
With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, buzz words like Blockchain are being tossed around often times incorrectly. Blockchain, in my opinion, is an extension of the internet, it’s the process of maintaining a public transaction log in a transparent fashion, like blocks. Bitcoin was the first decentralized digital currency to utilize this idea and it is the basis which ensures that if someone sends/pays for something with a bitcoin that they actually own the coin and they’re not trying to process duplicate transactions while a server processes the requests (One of the current headaches in the banking industry).
How does this relate to ERP? Maintaining, transacting and verifying “resources” is the main purpose of current Enterprise Resource Planning. However, their are great inefficiencies in the way different companies process orders between each other. If a system could be built so all “resources” were stored (in an encrypted manner) on a public ledger, then direct business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions could occur between all companies utilizing this system as their ERP, with the benefits of: almost zero fraud, real-time tracking, and increases in efficiency.
As MIS students, it’s important for us to understand the most recent trends in technology and information systems. The Blockchain is here to stay, if we’d like to remain competitive in the workforce, we need to familiarize ourselves with cutting edge technologies.
I love all comments and criticism. Thanks for reading!