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Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media


  • Kaplan, Andreas M.
  • Haenlein, Michael


The concept of Social Media is top of the agenda for many business executives today. Decision makers, as well as consultants, try to identify ways in which firms can make profitable use of applications such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Second Life, and Twitter. Yet despite this interest, there seems to be very limited understanding of what the term "Social Media" exactly means; this article intends to provide some clarification. We begin by describing the concept of Social Media, and discuss how it differs from related concepts such as Web 2.0 and User Generated Content. Based on this definition, we then provide a classification of Social Media which groups applications currently subsumed under the generalized term into more specific categories by characteristic: collaborative projects, blogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual social worlds. Finally, we present 10 pieces of advice for companies which decide to utilize Social Media.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaplan, Andreas M. & Haenlein, Michael, 2010. "Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 59-68, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:53:y:2010:i:1:p:59-68

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kaplan, Andreas M. & Haenlein, Michael, 2009. "The fairyland of Second Life: Virtual social worlds and how to use them," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 563-572, November.
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