This is a post from Alex Carrick's blog that covers the Canadian construction industry.

Since 1985, Mr. Carrick has held the position of Canadian Chief Economist with Reed Construction Data's CanaData, the leading supplier of statistics and forecasting information for the Canadian construction industry.

Go to Alex Carrick's blog home

Construction Industry Forecasts

Notes from Alex Carrick - Aug 26, 2009

Alex Carrick
The Growing Power of Social Networking Sites on the Internet

Social networking sites on the Internet may seem like a strange subject for a blog usually dedicated to construction economics, but please bear with me. There is relevance. One of the next big things in information technology or high-tech will be social networking sites.

Yes, I know these have been around for a while and I may seem out of touch by only mentioning them now. However, they came to the greater consciousness of us all more emphatically during the aftermath of the election in Iran. We were getting our updates from citizens who were text messaging what was happening on the streets of Tehran to CNN. That was the most dramatic example of their usefulness. Here’s some background.

There seem to be three primary social networking sites at this time.

1) LinkedIn – besides being a gathering place, it has a large resume and job hunting aspect to it.

2) Facebook – this is mainly social, but the corporate sector is increasingly establishing a presence.

3) Twitter – this has almost anyone writing about almost anything.

MySpace and YouTube also have significant followings, but they may be geared a little more towards the purely social and they mostly offer material designed to entertain.

Powerful Tool

The 140-or-less character restriction for Twitter entries has earned them the reputation of being frivolous. This is not the case at all. Twitter, with its accompanying message and search commands, plus its “followers” and “followings” is a powerful tool. Furthermore, the short messages often include a URL link to another longer story or blog entry.

Twitter traffic is largely comprised of chatter by individuals, news reports from the media and product updates from corporations. It also includes self-promotion and spam.

To go along with Twitter, there are other tools such as Tweetdeck, which organizes browsing in a more convenient format and “bit.ly” which provides a means to shorten URL addresses. There are also the story-rating agencies such as Digg and Newsvine.

The case has been made by others that Twitter may one day become the chief source for instant news information. Searches on Twitter may even supplant Google when it comes to getting the most up-to-the-minute insight on developing situations. That was certainly the case during the Iran post-election crisis. This is just speculation at this time and Google is likely to have its own views on the matter. It will all be sorted out in time.

Alternative Universe

From one perspective, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be viewed as the modern equivalent of the water cooler. They are also present-day versions of ham radio. In this regard, it is noteworthy that contact is with people all over the world. Such sites can also simply be seen as presenting an alternative universe. This last point warrants elaboration.

You can be working, shopping or eating a meal and the reality around you is likely to be relatively tranquil versus the chaotic “noise” that is proceeding in cyberspace. Having said this, however, it is true that the two worlds – the solid everyday corporeal one and the other one in the clouds – are increasingly bumping into each other and overlapping.

One primary reason for this is smart phones. Forward-thinking corporations are getting on the bandwagon. Ads are being specifically designed for mobile listening devices. If your company does not play a role on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook, you should consider it. The corporate presence in social networking is growing by leaps and bounds.

Alex Carrick

Find Canadian construction-related economic articles in Canadian Construction Market News and in the Economic Outlook section of Daily Commercial News. Mr. Carrick also has a lifestyle blog that can be reached by clicking here.


Email

RSS Feed

» back to blog home

Member Comments

Post Your Own Comments 
» Not a member? Register now to become one. Otherwise, login to post your comments on this article.

Read Other Recent Alex Carrick Posts

10/12 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-October 2012
10/04 - Auto Sales Set a Blistering Pace in the U.S. and Canada
09/18 - Canada’s Energy Future is Assured, Right? Think Again
09/14 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-September 2012
09/06 - Auto Sector Labor Relations will Play a Role in Construction Outlook
08/30 - Raucous Behavior in the Party Room Next Door
08/13 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-August 2012
07/31 - Canada’s GDP Advanced a Timid 0.1% in May but Support Will Come from Better U.S. Home Prices
07/19 - Finding the Pearls in the Latest U.S. and Canadian Economic News
07/13 - Latest Economic Nuggets: Mid-July 2012
07/04 - U.S. Auto Sales Continue Bullish While Canadian Incomes Languish
06/28 - Three Pivot Points for the World Economy - U.S. Housing, Europe’s Conundrum and Oil Prices
06/14 - Economic Nuggets – June 15, 2012
06/06 - Canada’s First Quarter GDP Growth Met Expectations, But What Comes Next?
05/30 - Ontario has a Backbone of Strength for the Decade Ahead
05/14 - Economic Nuggets - May 15, 2012
05/11 - Canada Rode a Second Consecutive Month of Strong Job Gains in April
05/04 - U.S. Employment Rose by a Mediocre 115,000 in April
04/27 - U.S. GDP +2.2% in Q1 2012 and Alberta led Canadian Provinces in 2011
04/18 - U.S. Inflation Low in March; Canada’s Central Bank Looking to Raise Rates

click here to update your log-in and member information

click here to maintain your company profile & view metrics