Online Social Networks – Homework Assignment

This week the subject was online social networks. The first article is about the social network sites (SNSs) and their history.  They summarize many different articles in one and tell you a lot about the history of SNSs. The article is pretty interesting but does not tell anything new, it summarizes the articles clearly but it does not give a lot of information that I didn’t already know and didn’t give a lot of new insights.

The next article is in line with the class of 30 September, it tells a lot about the social network analysis (SNA) and how networks are created with nodes and circles, at the end of the article it talks a lot about the different views and ideas of the social scientist and the physicist even though this was not discussed before. The article explains a pretty difficult subject clearly but misses a conclusion at the end.

The final article talks about business network-based value creation. This means that you combine the skills of multiple firms and you create something you could not do on your own. In comparison with the other 2 articles this one has a lot of new insights and has done research to test their propositions. It is a pretty though article to read through, it has a lot of text and is difficult. But it is very well structured and is a lot more in depth than the other 2 articles.

Coulon, F. wrote an interesting article about SNA, he looked at a lot of prior articles about innovation research and talks about the positive and negative side of using SNA, he explains that you cannot always you SNA and also need to do case studies to understand some networks, especially the specific actors in the network. He did not do any research himself though so he does not show a lot of proof for the claims he makes in the article.

The cases I discuss are about red bull and Microsoft, they both use their social media network a lot but in a different way, red bull post a lot of pictures and videos and have interesting stories behind them, they really sell their brand and not the product. Microsoft also posts a lot of visual stories but they are a lot more professional about it, they show success stories on their social media.

The strengths of both companies are that they promote their brand well, they both have different audiences and they adapt to this. They use a lot of visualization and use a lot of different social media. Red bull might promote their stories a little too well, people might like red bull just for the cool videos and photos and don’t buy any of the products they sell. Microsoft has a lot of feel good stories that to me are very exaggerated a lot of times, they don’t appeal to me and a reach only a certain type of their audience in this way.


– Boyd, D.M., and Ellison, N.B. 2007. Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13(1) 210–230.

– Borgatti, S.P., Mehra, A., Brass, D.J., and Labianca, G. 2009. Network analysis in the social sciences. Science 323(5916) 892-895.

– Kauffman, R.J., Li, T., and Heck, E. 2010. Business network-based value creation in electronic commerce. International Journal of Electronic Commerce 15(1) 111-142.

– Coulon, F. 2005. The use of Social Network Analysis in Innovation Research: A literature review


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