Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The booklet is a very focused account of the use of social media tools for researchers but it would also be useful for academics that may have students who engage within their academic practice, in this technological arena. The authors have achieved a balanced viewpoint with evidence from practice, in the form of sound bites from practitioners, to support arguments and claims. The booklet does not purport to put forward a deep understanding of social media it is more a quick guide to the tools which, while brief, has some very insightful elements represented in graphs and tables.
The language is very accessible, so very good for the international reader; as two of the contributors are based in an international centre then I presume this was their intention. The guide is ideal for those with no knowledge of the phenomenon, those with some knowledge and even those who use social media may wish to explore other uses outside their own practice outlined within the discussion. Some of the sound bites are useful in that they added to the discussion but one or two are a little superfluous
Sections one, two and three are useful as overviews of the various tools and techniques; with practitioners recanting how they overcame issues and captured opportunities. There is a particularly interesting table (page 7) presenting categories of tools in term of conceptualisation across various styles in current use.
Section four is more descriptive of elements within the realm of the virtual society. Section five is especially interesting in term of good practical approaches one can take to make the most efficient use of the groupings and information. The concept of a filtering tool on page 36 is a very good element, to overcome the most obvious problem of information overload. Practical advice on networks is of particular use in terms of conserving energy in the use and management of social groups.
The review of issues is a balanced account of the present day state of the technology situation. This guide is particularly useful, as the technology platform has now developed to such an extent that the risk, issues and opportunities are more evident and documented in related literature.