Business communication refers the sharing of information between two parties within or outside the business organization in regard to commercial benefits. As defined by McLean (2010), business communication may also means the process by which information is relayed within the business from one person to another. Business communication facilitates the flow of information from various people that may include customer, employees and the organization management. Business communication is critical part of organization management and plays an important role in organizing, planning, staffing and controlling. Therefore effective and efficient business communication process in an enterprise is essential for its survival in the society. Changes in the business communication are facilitated by the growth in technology that has reduced the world into a global village. Emergence of social media has therefore cause drastic impact on business communication. The overall objective of this paper is to explore the impact of social media in the contemporary business communication.
Business communication entails relaying information from one party to another following a prescribe channel. Therefore, the main components of business communication are message, sender, channel and recipient. Firstly, context in communication refers to the condition under which the information is passed. Business context determine the nature of message and the way message is designed. Secondly, sender or encoder is the source or composer of the information to be passed from one place to another. According to Barry and Fulmer (2004, pp 272-292), sender encode the information depending on context and the idea to be communicated. Thirdly, message or information refers to the idea that the sender or encoder want to pass to another person, business or place. Fourthly, channel or medium is the path through which the message is passed. Channel of communication can be technological such as internet or material such as papers. Finally, recipient or decoder is the final destination where the message is received decoded and content read.
Changes in business communication for the past 20 years
Business communication has evolves drastically over the past 20 years with changes from traditional form of business communication to modern technological business communication. Changes in the business communication can be grouped into two category, traditional business communication and technological communication.
Business communication has evolved from simple traditional form of communication that composed of correspondence and telephones to more complex communication forms such as social media and cloud computing. Traditionally business information was relayed through business correspondence. Business correspondence is form of business communication that entails passing information through written format containing business activities (Barnlund 2008, pp47-57). Some forms of correspondence include letters of enquiry, claim, complains or letter of application. The business communication at this point utilizes printed communications to pass information from one person or business to another. With the introduction of telephone in mid 20th century, some business communications such as telemarketing and the facsimile were used in business marketing. Telemarketing leads to introduction of television as means of communication between business to business or between individuals (Easton and Heidewald et al 2013, p. 21).
Changes in business communication can also be analyzed using technological growth. Since the inception of telephones the telecommunication has change business communication drastically over the past 20 years. Growth in technology has transformed the business following introduction computers in the communication process. Computers came along with internet that simplifies communication process. Telephone on the other hand evolved to mobile phone that currently facilitates flow of information from one party to another (Crosson 2000, pp. 399-418). Business can currently advertise their products to customers over the internet.
Current business communication
The current modern business communication system composed of social intranet software, seamless technology integration, collaborative workplace, robust mobile devices, and use of video, cloud based application. Firstly, revolution in computer technology has develop many social intranet software that has integrated social media platforms added on it allowing users to switch from one social media to another. Secondly, the current technological growth has resulted in development of software that allows moving of data and information from one system to another. For instance, Chun and Potter (2001, pp. 20-35) explains that moving information from your computer system to the social network is made possible using computer programs. Thirdly, business communication is also enhanced by the developments of many mobile devices. There are many mobile communication devices such as phones, tablets and min computers that allow user to access communication networks from any place around the globe. Fourthly, collaborative workplace refers to collaborative online work place resulting from integrated social components linked together. Fifthly, video can nowadays be used in every aspect of business communication ranging from video conferencing to video charting. Mangers who are far can communicate to the organization management through using video conferencing facilities. Finally, massive migration from computer based application to cloud based applications. Some companies currently can host database of many other business in their system forming cloud like network that is aided by cloud computing (Newman & Scott 2013, pp 18).
21st Century Business Communication Challenges
Advance technology that transforms the business communication is also accompanied with some challenges. Some of the challenges that affect business communication in the 21st century are raising insecurity, diversity of communication, faster technological changes
Incorporation of social networks in the business communication process has lead to rising insecurity of databases or sensitive business information. The insecurity challenge of business communication is caused by increase in hackers that forcefully break into the business information system destroying communication process. In addition, business communication in the 21st century risks tapping of information that is passed from one person to another. Some crucial aspect of communication process such as phone calls and emails can be tracked and tapped while it is transferred from one business to another (Asforth, Kreiner & Fugate 2000, pp 472-491).
The second communication challenge that affects business in the 21st century is fast technological change. The current business experience changes from one form of communication to another and adaptation require everyday technological update. For instance, business that initially uses email in marketing nowadays finds it hard to use email owing to introductions of chart platforms and messaging computer programs. Budgeting for technological assets is also challenging as business need to be flexible with changes in technology (Greene 2000, pp 139-155).
Reduce face to face communication due to emergence of chart platforms, social media and email technology that reduce one on one communication. With the technological growth face to face communication is continuously reduced reducing authenticity of the information that is transmitted. In the 21st century there is more business communication using social media as compared to meeting. Limited number of business meeting is coupled with organizational challenges as customers can minimally see the business people. Introduction of online retail or e-business customers can transacts business online without seeing the seller leading to customer doubt (Levine & Hullett 2002, pp 612-625).
Impact of social networks on business communication
The above current technologies have impacted the business communication resulting to wider business opportunity and insecurity. Firstly, social media has widened the opportunity of selling or buying of good from any location around the world. Use of mobile devices enhances communication between sellers and buyers making it easy to connect business within the shortest time possible (Gergen 2002, pp. 227- 241). Secondly, locations of stores are also shifted from physical to online by the use of online e-commerce software. Retailing involve buying and selling of good to customers through series of channel of distribution. Retailing business initially composed of series of retailing store where customers access goods and services. Thirdly, business advertisement has also changed over time as many business shifts from formal advertisements to social media owing to large number of social media users. Some large retail store used to advertise their stores using television and radios. Currently most business advertises online using social media platforms such as email, Facebook, Twitter, Google plus etc. Currently the retailing business is utilizing modern technology to create online retail stores. A good example of business is Amazon.com that is an e-tailing business (Roy et al., 2010, pp 9-12).
Case study business
Amazon.com retail store
Amazon.com store is an online retail store that buys and sells products and services throughout the world. Formally, business use to advertise their business over the internet though currently some businesses have shifted their base from physical location to internet. This is based on the wide network of computerized inventory and supply chain that is connected over the internet. Moreover businesses such as Amazon and Groupon are the leading online retail shop with good inter or intra business communications. Some of the items that are sold are electronic, furniture, computer accessories, clothes and books. Customers buy goods or services online using computerized programs such as e-commerce, shopping carts and auctions software. This software helps maintain inventory and monitor shipping of purchased good from one location to another (Brandt 2011, p. 228).
Impact of current business advertisement on Amazon.com
Business advertisement has change over the past years with the introduction of social networks. Social networks are platforms where people are united hence can share information between them. Social media has change the communication from one on one to forum where different people meet, chart and share ideas or information. Social media has change the advertisement since business can design adverts and deploy adverts over the social networks for multiple users online. For instance, it is estimated that Facebook has 5 million users in Australia alone. This implies that business organization can advertise through business Facebook page that is connected to its subscribers (Huang 2000, pp 337–347).
Changes in the business advertisement through the use of social media, email, chart platforms and telephone have transform business communication. Business such as Amazon advertises their products and services over the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter where customers connect to their business store. Information such as new brand, price changes and changing terms of trade are communicated to customer via email or social media platforms. To become a customer to Amazon store client need to register on the online customer portal so as to be allowed to order goods or services. In addition, use of mobile phones allows communication between customers and business easy throughout the world (Spector 2002, p. 132).
Example uses of modern communication in Amazon.com
Services or goods delivery is part of supply chain and requires movement of products or services from the business to the client through communication. In Amazon store, services deliver is enhanced by automated inventory software that monitor both stock and good or service purchased. The software is fitted with shopping cart that enhance ordering more items at the same time before payment. Customers have their goods shipped to from the company warehouses to any location. Customers fill in the online form that specifies customer location, time of delivery and conditions for delivery. All this are automated in the customer portal and gives the Amazon store direction required for good to reach the customer on stipulated time.
Amazon store uses modern communication platforms to connect and pass information to customers. Moreover, customers can communicate with sellers using emails from the onset of purchase to the point of delivery of goods. In addition, chart services and social media is also used by Amazon.com to quicken its strong relationship marketing. Company uses its social media to socially connect to customers, subscribers and funs online. Clients use social media strings that are attached to their websites to connect and register as customers. The only challenge that remains is the relationship between site visitors and the actual customers who purchase products. Amazon allows payment made electronically using international money transfer systems such as PayPal and credit or debit card deposited. Payment through electronic payment system works in just a click of button (Falk, Sockel & Chen 2005, pp 65–75).
In conclusion, business communication system, channel or process has changed over the past few years. Business communication has changed from initial use of correspondence papers to the current collaborative online workplace. Most of the changes in the business communication are due to technological growth accompanied with computer revolution and advance software development. The peak of technological growth is the emergence of social media or networks that has taken over the formal business communication. The overall impact of communication changes is seen in the business advertisement, workplace, supply chain management and retail store location. Modern business can therefore be operated from any pace around the world using modern technologies such as social media, video conferencing and chat services. Finally, mega online stores such as Amazon have resulted from integration of different software that enables management of online shopping store possible. Customers can therefore buy goods and services online using various computer automated software.
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