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.

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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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