Project: Value creation (Doctoral research)
Project team: Erik Hekman
Project duration: 2009-2013
Aim: To investigate the value of social media of which can be used to generate money
Continuing advances in digitalisation are leading to significant changes in the production, aggregation, distribution and consumption of content within media chains. This has become particularly visible as two prominent channels have matured: The Internet and mobile telephony. Both distribution channels are characterised by low threshold access, their omnipresence and the ability to stimulate interactive communication. It is, therefore, not surprising that the number of objects making use of the Internet and mobile services has increased. Not only computers, but also smart phones, game consoles, media entertainment system and televisions make increasing use of this connectivity. This connectivity has created platforms for various interactive applications such as blogs, social network sites and wikis. These interactive applications in turn have ensured that media chains have become particularly accessible to the consumer, providing numerous opportunities for the consumer to produce, aggregate, distribute and consume content for themselves across diverse channels – without limiting conditions such as location, time and information and are, therefore, anywhere, anytime, and anything. This has meant that consumers are no longer just receiving information from traditional institutions (for instance, TV broadcasts and newspapers), they have now become producers themselves.
Another consequence of the media chain becoming more accessible is that the processes we are familiar with in the physical and social world - such as sharing experiences, knowledge collaboration, discussing ideologies and finding other people – are occurring more often in the digital domain. This displacement is strengthening individualisation, social fragmentation, independence and freedom. The question arises whether those physical processes creating a certain value could do the same in the digital world. There are four value systems to be distinguished in the physical world: Economic, social, cultural and democratic values.
It is often unclear as to how value creation and exchange take place on the Internet. The Internet is a large concept and this research will not be aimed at the “entire” Internet, but will comprise three restrictions that will give focus to the study: 1) focus on social media, 2) focus on the esteem process as a type of value exchange, 3) specific focus on cross-media independence in achieving value exchange. The use and utilisation of multiple channels in the process of determining and exchanging value are unavoidable in current media usage.