May 27, 2010

Social Networks - can they offer solutions for current situations?

Lecture Reflection
Lecture Date: 5/25/10 in Second Life
Article discussed:A Practical Guide to Social Networks

The class met in Second Life for the second time. We had trouble initially with getting everybody’s audio set up. But once that was sorted out, the class proceeded smoothly.

Apart from talking about the logistics of the class, the main topic of discussion was on the article about Social Networks and their applications. We went through the three different types of Social Networks: Customized Response, Modular Response & Routine Response. I am not going into detail about what each model is about. Instead I am going to try something different in this blog posting.

During the lecture Dr. Mennecke mentioned ideas about the topic for this week’s blog. He said to think about different communication tools that could be employed in each of the model types. It got me thinking and I began to wonder how one of the models & the type of communication tools used in that model help solve a current problem. The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and all the buzz about the amount of time it is taking to solve it, has been on my mind. I wanted to sort of theorize if Social Network and Social Media tools could have been employed to better handle the situation and come to a rescue plan faster. I don’t really have a suggestion but a mere thought of what if the Customized Response model was used for this problem?

The article talks about how Novartis used the Customized Response model to look at an old problem in a new way. Alex Matter at Novartis used diverse external connections to help him show the way. Internal connections were also helpful in solving the problem. What if BP employed this kind of thinking to solve the crisis? I am not saying they haven’t done that already. I am just wondering how the value of Customized Response been derived by using external and internal social networks. Here’s a hypothetical set up for BP. BP after having learned about the leak and the cause for it, employ outside network of resources ranging from Government help, Private experts in the industry, Educational & Research experts in the field and its own experts in the company. Using the experts from all these fields form a team and get them in touch either via Social Media or other collaborative tools. For example set up a face book group with all the experts added to it. They could then brainstorm possible suggestions and cross check for viable solutions through experiments/studies in their own field and then come to a conclusive solution. Twitter could also be used to send out tweets on a regular basis to keep the local population updated about the situation. Maybe tweets could have been used to send notices to animal wildlife preservation groups who could have come in a timely manner to assess the situation and relocate the affected wildlife.

I am sure all the possible efforts are being done in this case already. What I am trying to do is just think of ways in which this problem could have been addressed within the scope of the topics discussed in class. I would love to hear what others think about this or any other ideas that people might have on this situation.

Here's the latest update about what's happening and what's being done

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