Authors: Kennedy Njenga and Victor Thobakgale
Web 3.0’s promotion of user-generated content together with the continuous increase in internet speed has given rise to the formation of interactive online communication channels, hosted by platform and mobile social network infrastructure. Social networking has shifted from just being seen as a service leveraging social relations but fast becoming an integral part of many businesses across South Africa. On one hand, many South African organisations are increasingly seeking opportunities to market themselves and interact with customers efficiently and cost effectively through social networks. On the other, cybercriminals are now leveraging on emergent social networks to harvest information that can be used to attack target organisations. The article extends the idea that organisations that seek to take advantage of benefits associated with the use of Social Networks, also inherit vulnerabilities that these technologies carry. As a result, organisations need to firstly understand the nature of security threats embedded in Social Networking technologies and once this is done, effectively place controls that not only promote social relations but also mitigate against security threats. The article presents results of a qualitative study that looked at the diffusion of Social Networks technologies in selected cases in South Africa. Symbolic interactionism has been used as a theoretical lens to conceptualise the diffusion of Social Networks in these cases. Primary data was collected, transcribed and interpreted. Cross-case analysis was conducted in order to describe the de facto interaction. The research contributes towards an understanding of security requirements for utilising Social Networks. For practice, the work provides a pertinent framework that could guide organisations on how to leverage benefits of Social Networks.
Keywords: Social Networks; Security, Symbolic Interactionism, Digital Relationships