Table of contents
II. Background literature
III. Data and methodology
A. Theoretical part
B. Practical part
1. External communication
2. Internal communication
IV. Preliminary results
Facebook has become the state-of-the-art communication tool. As a matter of fact, the renowned social network enables users to send emails, chat, share pictures and play games to name but a few (Graham, 2008). This is the reason why business companies are more and more keen to benefit from the famous social group (Annez de Taboada, 2010). This study investigates the relationship between Facebook and the business world. The aim of the investigation is twofold: first it depicts the level of importance of Facebook for companies and to what extent they are eager to use it. Secondly but most importantly, it examines the methods by which this high-tech communication tool is used by certain businesses for their external and internal communication (marketing strategy, technique of recruitment, internal communication, etc.). Questionnaires will be dispatched to a wide range of firms from all types and all sizes to draw up a large panel of statistics. The outcomes will reveal why and how companies use (or do not use) Facebook. The results will also indicate whether those statistics are contingent to the type and size of company (Balaqué, 2010).
For the past couple years the young Mark Zuckerberg and his famous social network “Facebook” have been the focus of much attention. Due to its multifunctional social virtues, Facebook has quickly become a means of communication that cannot be ignored. In addition to its obvious social opportunities in terms of communication, Facebook has now reached a new level of efficiency: besides the fruitfulness of Facebook’s use by individuals, it is now time for companies to profit from Facebook. As a matter of fact, the business world has taken an interest in Facebook for some time now, using it in a variety of new ways: as a new marketing strategy, as a strategy of hiring new employees, as a means of internal communication, etc. Indeed, for a few years now it has become relevant for firms to discuss their interest in Facebook, as many authors have already raised the question. For instance, in De Keyzer (2010), the author investigates the hypothesis that Facebook might soon become the vehicle for public relations in companies. Other writers, such as Balaqué (2010), examined the social networks in a more general way to identify an eventual integration of these networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, in new companies’ marketing strategies. Finally, according to some reviews, Facebook is also perceived as a useful tool to select potential applicants for hiring but also to control office workers’ personal profile, which opens a debate confronting new information technologies and individual liberties (Mallet-Poujol, 1998).
The topic tackled in the present paper centres around the use of Facebook by companies in terms of external and internal communication. For those who are not familiar with the concept of external and internal communication in the corporate world, here is a short definition of these two terms: while external communication conveys the exchange of information between the company and other companies or individuals, internal communication means the exchange of information between employees, between employers and employees or even between different branches of a same company (Annez de Taboada, 2010).
The research questions at the core of this study are the following: what is the professional interest of Facebook in business world and to which extent is it used by companies? An in-depth survey will be conducted through a strict methodology detailed further in this paper and significant findings will be drawn from the analysis in order to answer the questions before-mentioned. The results are expected to affect, on the one hand, the increasing importance of Facebook in new companies’ marketing strategies as well as the use of Facebook as a tool to hire new employees (external communication) and, on the other hand, a potential use of Facebook by firms’ managers to keep one’s eyes open on workers’ life outside working hours (internal communication). We will offer a critical reflection on these related subjects.
II. Background literature
The use of new communication technologies such as Facebook or Twitter has been the subject of many recent studies considering the global success of Facebook which has incredibly increased the interest in information and communication technologies for millions of people (Chevalier, 2002; Graham, 2008; Lefebvre, 2008; Kelsey, 2010). These studies introduce social networks to the reader and in particular Facebook and its multiple social functions. It also highlights the global impact of new information technologies such as the social networks, sometimes warning the reader against the communicational issue of these social networks. As a matter of fact, some social networks’ tools such as the chat can sometimes entail a risk of danger for privacy due to the anonymity of the program: individuals can chat with other members of the social network whom they do not know and those people might sometimes be ill-intentioned (burglars, pedophiles, hackers, etc.).
In more recent studies, such as De Keyzer, 2010; Balaqué, 2010; Annez de Taboada, 2010, the key concept described was the manifold use of Facebook in external and internal communication for businesses. In fact, according to more and more authors, Facebook might soon become, if it has not yet, a genuine professional contrivance in the field of marketing strategies, public relations or internal communication. For example, related to external communication, companies could create a Facebook page to give a renewal to the association’s image or develop new concepts of advertising. A company could also benefit from Facebook during a recruitment campaign where potential employees would be selected according to their Facebook profile.
Referring to internal communication, Facebook could be used inside the company in the form of newsletters to communicate important information between employees, between executives and employees or between different departments of the company. Lastly, it can be mentioned that at an internal communication level, employers or executives could also capitalize on a situation in which they could check employees’ Facebook profile to control whether these workers are still suitable for the company and its image. This situation could lead to serious consequences such as layoffs or dismissals. This last point is highly controversial as it breaches the right to privacy (Droit du travail et nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la communication, 2002).
III. Data and methodology
A. Theoretical part
After a general and traditional introduction quite similar to the one present in this paper, the dissertation will start with a first theoretical and more comprehensive part. In that chapter, I will identify, define and develop in a first section the broad concept of new communication and information technologies which will enable us to portray their historical evolution from yesterday up to now in a forthcoming section. Thanks to this last section, we will be able to establish the global impact that new communication and information technologies have reached nowadays in individuals’ lives. We will then come to the particular case of the social network Facebook, analyzing its creation by its inventor Mark Zuckerberg, its history and development, its uses, and in the end its global impact as well as the reasons of its success. All of these elements will be developed in that order in respective sections.
- Quote paper
- Sophie Bertrand (Author), 2011, The use of Facebook by companies, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/188230