NOTE: I had to split this post into 2 parts because I was over the word count!
Businesses these days mainly use social media as a marketing tool. Luckily for me, I am still old enough to remember a time before every second business asked me to ‘like’ them on Facebook, and ‘follow’ them on Instagram or Twitter.
However the amount of ‘reach’ and brand awareness that businesses have been able to achieve has increased tenfold if not more. Companies have been able to project their business, products and services nationally – and internationally – far quicker than they ever would have been able to before. This significantly aids with building up the brand of the company and even encourages people to want to work for the company. There are so many benefits for businesses using social media, not just externally, but internally as well. Employees and managers can communicate more effectively and openly than before, employees can collaborate on projects and share information freely between teams, businesses can create better advertising content, and an overall sense of corporate community can be quickly developed thanks to social media Ultimately, social media provides a platform for businesses to communicate and have conversations with existing and potential customers . This gives the company a much bigger and ‘louder’ voice than they ever had before (Edosomwan, Prakasan, Kouame, Watson, & Seymour, 2011). Last, but not least, using social media is an incredibly cheap method of advertising. Long gone are the big billboards on the side of the highway. Businesses can now utilise social media and make sure their brand is seen by so many more eyes than a billboard ever would.
Are you ready for the confusing bit that normal people don’t know anything about? No? Neither am I to be honest, but here we go anyway!
There it is, that’s the confusing bit, now lets find out what it means. Socio-Technical Theory is more commonly known as Socio-Technical Systems, and it is the way in which companies involve technical processes into their day-to-day activities. Socio-Technical Systems involve: hardware, software, physical surroundings, procedures, laws and regulations data and data structures, and most importantly: people. Without people, the former parts of the system wouldn’t work as they are created, fine-tuned, implemented and used by people themselves. The entire system is consistently updated and refined by people to ensure it is still benefiting the in the ways they need the system to. The most important factor about socio-technical systems is that they are self-aware. The system itself knows what it is being used for. This diagram below shows how each part of the system is linked to each other so closely:
I came across a Scottish man named Ian Sommerville, who I believe is either a teacher or a software engineer (or both!) and he has created a diagram which explains the levels of socio-technical systems. The arrow on the right shows how software engineering is a small part of the whole system, while systems engineering is a much broader part of the process.
An example of Socio-technical systems that Ian Sommerville used in his video tutorial was that of creating a book. This is due to the author (people), writing their book on a word processing application and then printing it (technical systems). And voila! You have the finished book!
Overall, social media has become so prominent in our lives that it has spilled into our corporate lives as well! Also, socio-technical systems are used in so many aspects of our lives, and yet, most of us barely realise it!
Edosomwan, S., Prakasan, S. K., Kouame, D., Watson, J., & Seymour, T. (2011). The history of social media and its impact on business. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 16(3), 79-91. Retrieved from http://0-search.proquest.com.www.elgar.govt.nz/docview/889143980?accountid=40858
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53, 59-68. Retrieved from http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0007681309001232/1-s2.0-S0007681309001232-main.pdf?_tid=bce78436-ff8c-11e5-98cb-00000aab0f27&acdnat=1460341743_c86847fdd1cf7d67aa40646da1d8b32d