Restructuring Community

In today’s world everyone talks about “The Globalisation”. There are terms such as the “Globalisation of world politics”, the “Globalisation of international trade”, the “Globalisation of international society” or the “Globalisation of technology”.

But what does “Globalisation” actually mean?

According to the Guardian article “What is Globalisation?” the process of Globalisation refers to the “result of a revolution in communication technology and of the increasing links between national economies through trade and investment.” It seems as if the main aim for companies today is to act rather on an international than on a national basis.

In fact, Globalisation lets basically everything (including organisations and data amounts) or in general the economy, grow. Growing, becoming bigger and better are most corporation’s core values caused by the rising pressure of competition.

Globalisation has a big impact on economic growth and causes both positive and negative side effects. On the one hand, a positive effect for less industrialised countries is the resulting access to capital flows, while on the other hand, negative effects such as the growing inequalities between industrialised and developing countries are caused.

Trough Globalisation the competition in the world markets has become stronger than ever:

“Globalization has created a market dynamic that fosters new competition, demands higher levels of efficiency and requires true expertise in supply chain optimization.” [sdcexec.com]

Therefore, multinational corporations become more dominant and try to maximise their profit without regard for the needs of the less powerful. As a result of the process the so-called “Global Players” (e.g. Nestle, Kraft, P&G) win the power over the smaller companies by buying them up.

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Furthermore, things have become time and space independent due to the Globalisation of technology and trade. Consequently, now it is possible to stay connected with one’s friends and family while traveling or studying overseas. Social media networks and channels as for example Skype introduce opportunities to participate in business meetings from all over the world. It is quite common to negotiate and to make decisions via Skype calls in multinational companies like Bayer AG or Lanxess.

Multinational companies use “outsourcing” to maximise their profit by minimizing their costs. Workers are sent to other countries in order to reduce work wages.

To sum it up, there are three dimensions of the Globalisation: Economic, political, social and cultural.

Responding to the tutorial question, which factors and activities will make one’s work globalised, no matter where one lives, it is statable that the Globalisation process has formed the fundaments for globalised work.

Nowadays it is possible to share one’s thoughts, ideas and work on social media networks or on blog webpages. Thanks to the social media platforms such as Instagram or LinkedIn, we are able to reach millions of people at the same time. Also, it is possible to receive feedback for the work one has done. Factors such as time and location do no longer play significant roles; more precisely: they are no longer barriers to make work globalised.

In 2016, Instagram has reached the milestone of having 500 million active users from all over the world. It is striking that not only the world’s economies grow but also our online and offline networks. This makes it a lot easier to share and spread our work and make it globalised.

Taking a closer look at the example of blogging: When I think that my Digital Media & Society blog entries are brilliant and that people need to read them I can share my blog address on all of my social media accounts so that others have access to read them. If people like what they see and read they can share it, too. As the name already indicates, social media networks are networks, which connect people. There will always be somebody who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody… who can tell it to somebody who knows somebody. That’s how we can make our work globalised, no matter where we live. Therefore, information can be spread around the world within seconds.

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Networks are closely linked to communities. There are two different types of communities: geographical communities which are build by social relationships within specific boundaries, and ideological communities which are build by common character, identity and interests. Also, we can use online communities to share our work and make it global.

In a nutshell, it has become really easy to share one’s work with others due to the Digitalisation and the ongoing Globalisation processes. It does no longer matter where we live: If my friends want to read the blog entries of their best friend who is currently studying in Australia, they only need the blog address to have access to it. Networks and connections, both on- and offline, are the most important factors for making one’s world globalised. Also, outsourcing processes lead to a globalised work, since companies produce in different countries and step up their production.

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References & Reading list:

DMS Script Week 11 by Jeff Brand

TED Talk „The Power of Sharing“ by Marieke Hart

Independent.co.uk: Paul Kingsnorth., 14th September 2006., “Making Globalization Work, by Joseph Stiglitz

The Guardian: Jim O’Neill., 18th January 2017., “Globalisation has made the world a better place

The Guardian: Simon Jeffery., 31st October 2002., “What is globalisation?

The Guardian: Rosie Nieven., 8th December 2012., “The role of social media in community building and development

Forbes: Bernard Marr., 30th September 2015., „Big Data: 20 Mind-Boggling Facts Everyone Must Read

The New York Times Blog: Paul Krugman., 14th March 2016., “Globalization and Growth

medium.com: Jessica Bieber., 1st May 2014., “Impact of the Globalization of Social Media

sdcexec.com: Doug Britt., 17th September 2007., “Impact of Globalization in creating Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Polity.co.uk: “What is Globalization?

Businessdictionary: “Globalization

Wikipedia: “Globalization

Wikipedia: “Community

Wikipedia: “Social Media

Wikipedia: “Joseph Stiglitz

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Networks & Collective Intelligence

How do Tapscott’s four principles for an open world relate to the social media activities you will practice in your profession after graduation?

According to the Canadian business executive and famous author Don Tapscott, today we are facing a new period of time, which opens up our world.

Since the advent of the internet and the “Web 2.0” we are facing many difficulties such as lacks of privacy or data criminality due to the technological changes and the use of social networking services.

Despite all the negative effects the connectivity might entails, in the TED Talk “four principles for the open world” Don Tapscott appeals to think differently and focus on possible advantages. Even though he describes himself as a “digital immigrant” he examines the positive influences an “open world” can have.

He states that our world is in trouble and that

“the current global situation is facing the ‘burning platform’ dilemma, where the cost of staying where we are right now is becoming greater than the cost of moving towards something different (…)“ [4 principles for the open world by „Steve“]

The talk is about the four principles for an open world, which are “Collaboration”, “Transparency”, “Sharing” and “Empowerment”.

Within the first principle “openness as collaboration” he describes how the boundaries between corporations and institutions open up and how companies now have to adapt to these changes. According to him, knowledge workers are the most important sources of intelligence and therefore an essential resource for institutions. Because of the never-ending “story” of craving for profit in the economical context, knowledge workers are needed. Especially in an opened-up world creativity and brain power are fundamental to increase profit.

The second principle “openness as transparency” deals with the rising lacks of privacy for institutions and companies:

“Institutions are becoming naked” [TED Talk minute 06:23]

Tapscott says the principle of transparency is about communication; institutions have to adapt to the increasing transparency and that they have to be prepared to be seen “naked” by the world.

Openness as sharing”, the third principle, expresses the need for institutions to “give up assets” and to start creating adequate business models. Tapscott appeals institutions to consider a reinvention of internal structures instead of using measures such as accusations to resist in an open world.

Last but not least the fourth principle “openness as empowerment” says that in an open world “knowledge is power”. Don Tapscott explains that today people should consider sharing their intelligence in order to support others and also to take advantage of the collective intelligence. Furthermore, he states that the world should create a global consciousness for intelligence and power.

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To sum it up, Don Tapscott focuses on the transformation from our “troubled world” towards an open world, which will be formed by freedom and collaboration. He underlines that people need to “keep the pot boiling” and stay awake since the transformation in moving forward:

“The train has left the station” [TED Talk minute 12:05]

Responding to the tutorial question, how these four principles relate to the social media activities I will practice in my profession after graduation, I will examine the possible meaning every principle has for social media marketing.

After graduating I am planning to work in the fields of marketing and advertising, probably in a marketing agency.

I think Don Tapscott’s four principles are closely linked to the social media activities I will practice as a marketing professional in a few years.

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In relation to the principle “openness as collaboration” social media marketing will change in different ways. For a particular company, cooperation with as many institutions (from the same branches) as possible will be indispensable. In an open world there is a huge network where everyone can benefit from collaborating with each other. Therefore, social media marketing activities will be designed in order to create a huge global network.

The second principle “openness as transparency” will also change the social media activities in my profession: Due to the fact that everything, in particular institutions, become more transparent social media marketing professionals need to choose wisely the platforms where they share information. Also, there will be a need to constantly maintain the “image” of an institution or company because due to the transparency it is more likely to get into crisis.

The principles of “openness as sharing” and “openness as knowledge” relate to social media marketing activities in the way, that companies will take advantage of shared intelligence in the World Wide Web. Marketing professionals can share their thoughts and their creative considerations about particular topics to support others. Here we have a great example for a network effect: The more people share their ideas and knowledge in the Internet, the more people can take advantage of it. Therefore, the quality of the network will increase by the rise of shared intelligence.

In an open world where everything will be more transparent than it already is today, it will be even more important to know how to present a company in the digital world. In times where everything has become time and space independent, where information can be spread around the world within seconds, social media has become a new tool to create greater value.

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References and Reading List

Ted Talk: Don Tapscott: “Four principles for the open world”; June 2012

The Guardian: “How the children of the digital age will change the way we work”; Don Tapscott; November 8, 2008

The Guardian: “Q&A with Alan Rusbridger: the future of open journalism”; The Guardian editor’s Q&A; March 26, 2012

Economist: “Don Tapscott on mass collaboration”; November 24, 2010

Independent.co.uk: “Book review: Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is changing the World, by Don Tapscott”; Roger Trapp; March 9, 2009;

SMR: “Still impressed with Tapscott’s message”; Guy St. Clair; February 18, 2013

Techxb.com: “4 principles on the open world” by “Steve”; March 22, 2013

Opensource.com: “How to survive in an open world”; Casey Brown, July 12, 2012

Sagejournals: “’Making the world more open and connected’: Mark Zuckerberg and the discursive construction of Facebook and its users”; Anna Laureen Hoffmann, Nicholas Proferes, Michael Zimmer; July 28, 2016

Quora: “When Facebook says they are making the world „more open and connected,“ what is the intended meaning of the word ‚open‘?

Wikipedia: “Collective Intelligence

Wikipedia: “Social Networking Service

Wikipedia: “Network effect

Wikipedia: „Knowledge worker

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Digital Media & Society Script Week 7 Networks & Collective Intelligence” by Jeff Brand

Knowledge Economy & Digital Capitalism

Week 5 Question: What can you do as a knowledge worker to ensure you benefit from rather than are a victim of digital capitalism?

These days everything, in particular every process, becomes faster due to the ongoing globalization and recent changes in the economy. Also, products tend to have shorter life cycles, trends are already out of time before they are fully adapted, and the amount of digital data is enormously growing from second to second.

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“Digital capitalism”, also called “advanced capitalism” is a phenomenon that occurred in the 1950s for the first time. When people became aware of the shift from the industrial, hand crafting oriented society to the knowledge working economy, Peter Drucker developed a first concept and stated:

“(our) world is moving

from an economy of goods

to an economy of knowledge 

from a society of industrial proletariat

to a society of brain workers”

Today, the so called knowledge workers such as engineers, physicians, scientists, lawyers or architects are (successfully) trying to create wealth with their own ideas and creativity.

The knowledge-based sector is the most profitable and fastest growing sector of all economies. The Guardian “What is the knowledge economy?”]

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But the digital capitalism leads to many challenges for the knowledge workers in these fields:

“The rise of the Internet, the establishment of organizational knowledge-management systems, and, most recently, the advent of social media provide knowledge workers with a vast array of information from public and private sources.” [McKinsey: “Rethinking knowledge work: A strategic approach”]

Despite the fact that the most important resource is their brainpower, the technology progress is threatening the workers. By 2020 the majority of non-routine career paths will be disrupted by smart machines in different ways. 17% of all knowledge workers will be disrupted within the next three years, while only 49% will stay unaffected by the ongoing changes [see also DMS script week five].

I definitely agree with political economists such as Dan Schiller, Robert McChesney or Vincent Mosco who argued that new media, as well as the revolution of the internet, mark the rise of digital capitalism.

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But how can knowledge workers benefit from the digital capitalism rather than become a victim of it?

In 2009 Roberts has already stated that the key components of a knowledge economy include a greater reliance on intellectual capabilities than on physical inputs or natural resources, combined with efforts to integrate improvements in every stage of the production process.

I think as a knowledge worker you need to become aware of the recent developments in information technology, science, communication and media sectors.

Furthermore, you have to stay “awake” so that you do not loose the control of yourself and the control of your power due to the fast growing amounts of data.

While I was doing the research for week five’s topic “the knowledge economy” I came across many articles and stories, published in the last few years, which dealt with different problems and difficulties caused by the ongoing changes in society and digitalism. People describe and blog about the feeling of drowning in the “worldwideweb” and the feeling of loosing their power of themselves. Often it is said that the digital capitalism makes people drown in information but nobody wants to distance him- or herself from being permanently available and online.

Heading back to the actual question, knowledge workers are the key to ensure profit and success for companies. Their creativity and brainpower are essential to participate in the international competition. To not get lost these days, knowledge workers have to set their focus on improving their soft skills and make sure to be better than their competitors. Competition today is stronger than ever in times of outsourcing and the fast growing economy.

In addition to that, nowadays it becomes quite common for companies to replace human workers by “intelligent” robots to save money, to be more independent and to adapt to today’s time.

„You’re sort of like a robot, but in human form (…) it’s human automation, if you like.“ [The Guardian: „Digital capitalism produces few winners“]

Conclusion

One of the biggest challenges we are facing is that everything can be out of time before we even have heard about it. It is not only striking that today product cycles are shorter than they were 20 years ago, but also that adoption processes have changed compared to those in the past.

For knowledge workers it is essential to stay  up to date, observe changes in society and to learn how to evaluate possible developments in the future to not become victims of the digital capitalism.

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References:

„The Critique of Digital Capitalism: An Analysis oft the Political Economy of Digital Culture and Technology“, Michael Betancourt (2016)

“Handbook on the knowledge Economy”, David Rooney, Greg Hearn, Tim Kastelle (2005)

„Intellectual Economics and Creation of a Knowledge Based Society and Knowledge Economy: New Challenges in the Context of Global Transformations“, M. Borisas (2012)

“Knowledge economics in the Information Age”, Jen-Shan Kao (2004)

Digital Media & Society Script by Jeff Brand (Week 5)

The Guardian: „What is the knowledge economy?“, Patrick Barkham (2008)

The Guardian: „Digital capitalism produces few winners“, John Naughton (2013)

The Guardian: „ Business thinking in the knowledge economy“, Gaynor Aaltonen (2010)

A Primer on the Knowledge Economy“, John Houghton and Peter Scheerman (2000)

Economist: „The age of smart machines“, Schumpeter (2013)

WTHIV.com: „Digital Depression: Overhwelmed and overworked by technology“, Mike Cleff (2014)

McKinsey & Company: “Rethinking knowledge work: A strategic approach”, Thomas H. Davenport (2011)

Wikipedia: “Knowledge Economy

Wikipedia: „Knowledge Worker

Wikipedia: “Advanced Capitalism