Social Media and Sociotechnical Systems


Okay… Here it is… Starting this blog for my university paper… I swear Christmas was only a week ago but now summer is gone and I actually have to do something productive. I thought this paper was going to be a piece of cake, but seriously David, how do you except us to write a blog, something that is informal and chatty, for a university paper, the complete opposite of informal??? This is definitely going to be an interesting semester.

At this point in my writing, I’m supposed to be discussing my self-management – how I will manage my learning and how I am going to do well in this class. Well let me tell you, it’s not going to be simple. I bet you’re thinking, she’s a 20 year-old girl – doesn’t she only care about boys and partying? Well yeah that’s pretty spot on, but I guess I also care about the wasted $1000-odd if I fail this course. So here’s what I’m gonna do. As a full-time student, I have other classes that I need to attend and my timetable has spaces in it. So I’ll allocate some of my timetable spaces to this course, giving myself time to complete all the readings and blog entries. All the information I gather is going to be written into my uni notebook, if it doesn’t go straight onto here first. Let’s hope I can stick to that plan.

So getting to what we are all here to learn about. Social Media. What is it? Good question. I mean, we use it every day but it’s not really that easy to define. So I looked it up. Online. Using social media. Genius. Social media is any website or application that allows for people to connect, communicate and collaborate. It has been around for a wee while now – starting in around 1997, when people started creating their own blogs, followed by instant messaging being invented. In 1999, the groundbreaking website called ‘Friends Reunited’ was created, where you could actually search up and contact people you knew.In 2002, the internet hit 100 million users, causing an influx of social media websites being created. MySpace, YouTube and Twitter were all created in the following years, and each website gained members daily – apart from MySpace, which began declining in around 2008 when Facebook took over (does MySpace even still exist?? Who uses it?).

Nowadays, there are HEAPS of different types of social media – social networks, instant messages, audio and video conferences, blogs and microblogs, virtual worlds and wikis.

Most businesses use at least one of the social media types above for all sorts of different things. They use audio/video conferencing to have meetings with employees that live around the world, companies create pages on various social networking sites – Facebook, Instagram and some even use Snapchat to keep customers and employees in the loop of what’s new. Many also microblog on Twitter to update stakeholders in 140 characters or less. Some even use virtual worlds, like Second Life, to see how people would react to certain business decisions or marketing techniques.

Social media is something called a sociotechnical system. A sociotechnical system is one that uses technical computer-based systems (hardware and software) but also includes people and processes that interact with the system. Social media is an example of this as there is set software in each application, but people that use the system can change it to an extent – by posting on Twitter, creating a character on a virtual world and editing a blog.

As I was researching this topic, I thought to myself – what exactly is the difference between social media and social networking? I find a lot of people (myself included) get mixed up between social media and social networks when they are quite different. Social media encompasses any application or website that people use to upload media content where they can comment and ask questions to other people. Social networking, a subsection of social media, allows you to do this as well, but social networking is specifically about engaging with others and creating an online community with people that have similar interests.

I hope you found this post relatively interesting – feel free to comment below! Stay tuned for more :~)


4 thoughts on “Social Media and Sociotechnical Systems

  1. Nice chatty style! And an easy to understand explanation of some tricky stuff there… You might like to try some sub-headers to break up the text, or things like bullet points etc. 🙂


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