Brief Introduction to Technological Determinism

Technological determinism can be described as a juncture of socio-technical studies, sociology, technology, and societal evolution. The theoretical framework of technological determinism basically concerns itself with the deterministic and influential nature of technology with regard to human society and perceptions.

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The industrial revolution of Europe provided this paradigm with considerable scholarly impetus. Technological determinism can amply help us in developing an understanding on how society and technology interact. The basic framework of this theoretical paradigm has been constructed on the basis of Thorstein B. Veblen’s works. Although a strictly deterministic approach might damage the very target of this book, I have focused on the philosophical side of determinism. This has been done to provide a wholesome view of the debates that frequently arise while analyzing the relationships between technology and society. Although this book is primarily meant for sociology students, I have adopted an interdisciplinary approach. If a manager or technology expert wishes to work on socio-technical projects, this book can be helpful for them as well. For a basic framework level of introduction to this huge and rapidly evolving realm of inquiry, you can continue to read more at Brief Introduction to Technological Determinism (Paperback), which is available through the Amazon.com website.

Distortion of Social Media Data: Should Expressions be Controlled or Spammers be Eliminated?

How should we use social media? What should be language parameters and limits of expression?

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Technically speaking, there needs to be no limit at all from the perspective of a researcher. Limits of expression are not required. One can, indeed, use abusive language or create other kinds of mess. These things can be converted into research topics. However, problems arise because most of the social networking sites are doing something very wrong. They let users leave several user data fields vacant. This helps spammers to become users and distort the social media data considerably. In other words, netiquette is less important than network security. It appears to be so at least from the viewpoint of a researcher or technology enthusiast.

If someone needs to join Facebook, he/she may skip a number of questions. But Google has shown a good approach. Google often makes filling of certain fields in a form mandatory. This is likely to increase stability and reliability. While opening a Gmail account (that can be later connected with Google Plus, the company’s social networking service), the user must give an authentic phone number. If this kind of system is materialized for Facebook too, then spamming and unauthorized use can be considerably controlled. However, the primary responsibility still lies with email service providers rather than the social networking sites.

Extended Reading:

[1] Core Rules of Netiquette

[2] Laughton, P. A. (2008). Hierarchical analysis of acceptable use policies. South African Journal of Information Management, 10(4), 2-6.

[3] Social Spam

[4] Social Networking Spam – 5 Rules for Marketers

Social Media Mining May Eat Up Data Mining Technology as a Whole

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This is really unacceptable, but it is indeed a compromising situation. Nevertheless, without a compromise of this kind, social media research cannot be enriched and popularized. The compromise involves a restrictive integration between social media analysis and data mining techniques. The basic philosophy underlying this socio-technological amalgamation can be stated as ‘What we get after we get something or everything?’ Breaking apart terminological barriers, this something-everything problem can be regarded as a new variety of requirements engineering issue. At one side, experts are having loads of data generated by social media platforms. On the other side, experts are wondering how data mining can be used optimally to understand and analyse social media trends. While doing the both tasks simultaneously, experts are now trying to restrict the scope of large-scale data mining applications inside the realm of social media. This conception, known approximately as social media mining, may help in drawing an eventual but erroneous conclusion. This potential conclusion is that data mining is best suited for organizing, managing, analyzing, and exploiting social media data only! Can the scientific world afford that the computer programmers of future almost solely dedicate themselves to social media mining research and development? In order to understand the risks of such an approach, please have a look to the following academic works and an informative weblog:
[1] Kaplan, Andreas M.; Haenlein, Michael (2010). “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media”. Business Horizons 53 (1)
[2] Barbier, Geoffrey; Feng, Zhuo; Gundecha, Pritam; Liu, Huan (2013). “Provenance Data in Social Media”. Synthesis Lectures on Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery.
[3] Why Data Mining Is the Next Frontier for Social Media Marketing

Social Network Analysis and Social Media Mining

What are social networks? Social networks are neither directly related with social network analysis (SNA) nor they have any unswerving relationship with social media mining. Social networks have evolved many a times all around us down the antiquities and ages. A nice example of a social network is your locality, where you may have a strong liking for your neighbor at north and a weak attachment with the restaurant owner at south. Another social network is where you get into like an asteroid when you join a new office and a new workforce. Therefore, strictly speaking, analysis of a social network can be done by analog as well as digital means. Is that SNA … Did I say so? Of course, no.

Social networks can be better identified as digital networks developing among different users via computing and Internet platforms. Websites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are there for serving this purpose of forming digital communities in the virtual space. SNA is concerned with analyzing the trends out there. A general definition is given by Freeman, where he states that “Social network analysis is focused on uncovering the patterning of people’s interaction. Network analysis is based on the intuitive notion that these patterns are important features of the lives of the individuals who display them” (Social Network Analysis). On the other hand, social media mining appears to be a more technical conception. What are social media? Your Internet-connected gazettes, computer systems, phones, etc. can all be used as social media. Multimedia implementations have been incorporated in social media like Facebook, YouTube, etc. So when we take an analytical turn across this topic of enquiry, we find that “Social Media Mining integrates social media, social network analysis, and data mining to provide a convenient and coherent platform for students, practitioners, researchers, and project managers to understand the basics and potentials of social media mining” (Social Media Mining: An Introduction).

In this way, one can understand that SNA has technical limits even from a conceptual point of view. But social media mining is technology oriented. On the other hand, social media mining may appear to be too technical, too pervasive, and boringly iterative. But SNA provides with less complex methods for understanding the social media landscape itself.

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Servant Leadership Style: A World Less Explored

The theory of servant leadership style is based on variations in human nature. There are some people around us who wish to serve. They are inclined to do some service for others. They consider that their employers, their society, or their commitments should be prioritized aptly. This kind of person thinks about the community or the organization first. When a person like this ventures ahead to embark on a leadership role, then he/she may adopt a servant leadership style. This is, in essence, a psycho-behavioral leadership framework. This leadership style is very much centered on the attitudes, actions, and traits of the leader concerned. These leaders are inclined to lead from front and consistently mentor their followers. Yet, experts like James Heskett notes that servant leadership style is not very popular. However, Heskett (2013) also thinks that servant leadership should have been a more widely adopted leadership paradigm. Although servant leadership style is not suited for everyone, it is very productive and follower oriented. In the article “Why isn’t servant leadership more prevalent?“, Heskett (2013) has focused on both the theoretical and practical aspects of this topic.

Nevertheless, it is advisable that real world situations are not great places for experiment. Since there is enough scope for more experiments and research on servant leadership style, it still remains only a second option.
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Is It Logical or Possible to Have Follower-Leaders?

Can a person be a follower and a leader simultaneously?

Without going to the intricacies of academics and literature, one can say that being a leader and a follower simultaneously is quite impossible. For example, suppose Mr. A follows Mr. B and leads Mr. C. In that case, Mr. C is indirectly following Mr. B and Mr. A has got someone to follow him only because he is following someone else. In logical language, one cannot lead and follow another at the same time. Therefore, time sharing in leadership practices is a must. Otherwise, follower leaders cannot be created. For instance, Mr. A follows Mr. B on working days, and Mr. B follows Mr. A on holidays. In this case, both A and B are mutual follower leaders. This kind of logical reasoning may appear to be a bit novel. However, ‘follower-leader’ is a known phrase indeed. According to Madden (2011), “As followers and follower-leaders, we have an incredible power—it’s the power of choosing who we want to follow and invest in.” So Madden’s book The Synergetic Follower can be utilized as a useful resource for researching the leadership style of follower leaders. Yet, experiential learning cannot be regarded as sufficient for defining such a novel leadership style. More research is thus very necessary.
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Some General Thoughts on Oil and Gold

As of January 2015, the world looks quite mysterious at the front of energy sector and gold prices. While crude oil prices are low, precious metals like gold are also not doing so good. Then will the markets become more inexpensive in general? Of course, there is no guarantee. Although precious metals and oil are impressive investment areas, the overall picture remains gloomy. Due to the complexities of the modern economies, parameters of setting prices of goods pertaining to different economic sectors vary widely. There was a time when gold used to be the most important part of one’s investment portfolio. Also, oil price fluctuations used to send shock-waves across the global economy. But now the situation is quite different. We have to diversify our focus. For example, the IT and the services sectors have also emerged as very important areas for investments and development.