Web 2.0 applications and social media have provided new venues for businesses to inform, understand and connect with their customers. This book provides a general understanding of using blogs, podcasts, live streaming, wikis, social buzz, social media, and more to enable businesses to rethink their approach and leverage new digital media’s advantages. It covers theoretical concepts such as RSS feeds and practical examples such as constructing a WordPress blog in detail. Other topics examined from a business perspective include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Klout, and others. This free textbook provides information about the changing digital environment and how it impacts modern business practices.
As a scholar from a Midwestern university in the United States, it is easy to get caught up in local projects and forget about interesting work taking place around the globe. I experienced this recently when I took my first trip ever to Slovakia in Eastern Europe. I had the good fortune of attending DiVAI 2012, the 9th International Scientific Conference on Distance Learning in Applied Informatics. The conference took place May 2-4 at the Hotel Thermal Recreation Complex in Štúrovo, Slovakia. The map below shows Slovakia’s location west of Ukraine, sandwiched between Poland and Hungary. I have observations that I would like to share. First, the regarding people: the conference was run by academics who take their field of study very seriously. This being said, everyone’s hospitality to a visitor from the United States was first rate. My hosts were warm and friendly. The conference organizers took time to meet me and engage in interesting conversation. I learned about their universities, programs, research and distance learning practices. This was especially true during the conference receptions and a bus tour that took us to Vyšehrad, across the river in Hungary where an early Renaissance palace perches on top a spectacular hill. My wife and daughter accompanied me to the conference and were included in all the activities. Second, Slovakia itself is a beautiful country. The towns and villages are neat and quaint. The countryside is lush, green with amazing stretches of farmland. Life moves a pleasant, slower pace with time to appreciate the surroundings. The hotel complex was amazing with its natural thermal springs providing hot pools for swimming and soaking. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Slovakia is a place where academic practice and research is flourishing. I learned a great deal in the sessions and left the conference with new inspirations for my distance learning classes and great research ideas for the future. I feel that I came to Slovakia as an outsider but left as a welcomed friend. It was a great experience and I encourage everyone to take time to visit Slovakia. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you will find.