Got published in Middle East 360: How Israel protects the rights of Palestinians

640px-Flickr_-_Government_Press_Office_(GPO)_-_An_aerial_photo_of_the_supreme_court_building

The Israeli Supreme Court. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons

Of late, the IDF is trying to come up with their side of the story, even though their activities are not above criticisms at all. The IDF is trying to reach out to the people with the help of their Facebook page and related social media groups.

With the help of the organizations like StandWithUs  the IDF has also started to attempt gradual dissemination of information and policies in public.

However, another important consideration in this context is that how the Israeli politico-military system actually works. Contrary to the popular belief, Israel is not an excessively militarized country. Even after so many years of conflict and warfare, Israel has not transformed itself into a North Korea of the Middle East.

Read More …

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.

download

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.

Multi-Agency Coordination Development in Contemporary UK Social Care Sector

In contemporary UK, social care services have become a prime area of focus. Particularly in the wake of the events of Rotherham, the UK government and social care policymakers are striving to create better social safeguards for children. On the other hand, the Care Act (2014) has emerged as a very important, innovative, and dynamic framework for adult social care.

images

Coordination of various agencies and functions to provide enhanced social care. Image via Google Images and Pusat Materi

The combined effect of the events of Rotherham and the Care Act has shown that both vulnerable adults and children in general need social attention as well as assistance from the local authorities. The reasons are diverse. Firstly, children may hesitate to report or may not understand the gravity of the situation when they face an incident of sexual exploitation (Jay 2014). So the juvenile population needs extensive and immediate attention. Secondly, establishment of integrated adult mental health services shows that instances of mental disorders are not only becoming more preponderant but also being left unattended Care Act (2014). Thirdly, the government’s urge to establish more coordination across the various agencies at local levels is creating ample scope and serious requirement of multi-agency social care network development. The government of UK is advocating that both social programmes and technological advancements be implemented to cater with the complex needs of potential victims of abuse (Multi-Agency Working and Information Sharing Project 2014).

The technical aspects of multi-agency coordination are dependent on IT integration and use. Without exploiting the merits of Internet and database technologies, it is difficult for policymakers to come up with a more practical idea for social welfare in the 21st century. For example, an easily accessible website of the local social care network may help a victim to report about his/her plight via emails or online complaint submission options. Multiple agencies are active at the level of every British county for protecting the vulnerable populations and detecting the potential victims. Hence, success rates of multi-agency frameworks will vary directly as the number of local social care units that actively network with each other. Contextually, unification of the different non government organisations and local authorities is necessary. In conclusion, one can state that “to achieve effective inter-agency working, agencies may consider that there are merits in establishing a multi-agency management committee” (Department of Health 2001, p. 15)

References

  1. Care Act (2014), London: The Stationary Office
  2. Department of Health (2001), No Secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, London: Home Office
  3. Jay, A. (2014), Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997-2013, Rotherham: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
  4. Multi-Agency Working and Information Sharing Project (2014), London: Home Office

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?

header
Image via Google and Wikipedia

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 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.

Image via Google Images

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.
leadership

Introducing Technological Determinism

We should always keep in mind that both technology experts and business managers are part of the society. Without understanding society, we cannot understand our clients and customers. But if a professional does not know that exactly how technology is related to the society and vice versa, he/she cannot devise technological systems that would benefit the society in the long run. Apparently, study of society and social sciences is not an imperative for a technical or management trainee. But in the age of social networks like Facebook and with increased public focus on topics like corporate social responsibility (CSR), it is not a good idea to neglect the social influence and importance of technology as a whole. 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. To get the Amazon page of the main book, please click here.

Book cover