Background Note | HBS Case Collection | June 2011

It's a Social World

by Stephen P. Bradley and Nancy Bartlett


Social media had fashioned the lives of individuals and communities by 2010, providing an opportunity and a challenge for companies of all sizes. This note provides background on various social media (e.g. social networks, forums, games and communication services) and how people and groups utilize them. With an appreciation of the range of options, frequency of use, and typical activities, companies can better understand how social media impacts their branding, customer service, and selling model.

Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Media; Service Operations; Sales; Opportunities; Corporate Strategy; Web;


Bradley, Stephen P., and Nancy Bartlett. "It's a Social World." Harvard Business School Background Note 711-544, June 2011.