Main Article Content
Social Media, Social Networks, Social Networking Sites, Web 2.0
Web 2.0 technologies have become effective tools in recent years, being used by people everywhere for everything. One of the most effective types of Web 2.0 technology is online social networks. Social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, are being used in communication and for building social capital between people. However, they have become important tools in the business world, and business people have realized that social networks are applicable tools in their daily business tasks. There is a belief that social networking and social media are going to transform peoples live styles, change their cultures, revolutionize communication, and reform the existing business models. From this standpoint, this research investigates and attempts to understand the adoption of social networks in business.
This research raises three main questions: 1) What is the impact of utilizing social networks in business?, 2) How does business increase opportunities by adopting social networks?, and 3) What are the obstacles that discourage certain organizations from utilizing social networks in their business? The main theoretical objectives of this research are to investigate and explore the opportunities and reasons behind adopting social networks in business, to investigate the impacts of social networks on business and what the consequences are for individual businesses, and to discover the reasons which are preventing certain businesses from adopting social networks.
In order to achieve the researchs objectives about 130 questionnaires were distributed to different private organizations in Oman. Some of the initial findings of this exploratory study are that the majority of organizations that participated fall into the services category; 57% of the respondents have face-to-face meetings as well as online/email to communicate with their customers, and 81% of these organizations allow their employees to access/browse the Internet during working hours; 31% of the organizations said that the main gain from utilizing social networking is to encourage and empower employees to discuss ideas, post news, ask questions, and share links; 62% of the organizations agreed that one of the obstacles preventing them from adopting social networking is the lack of quantifiable business benefits.
This study is expected to help businesses that are trying to gain competitive advantage by deploying these new technologies and ideas for the enhancement of their operations.