Road-mapping the societal transformation potential of social media

Toni Ahlqvist, Asta Bäck, Sirkka Heinonen, Minna Halonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – This paper seeks to discuss the outcomes of a road‐mapping research on social media project completed at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Social media refer to a combination of three elements: content, user communities, and Web 2.0 technologies.

    Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilizes socio‐technical road‐mapping to study the potential transformations of social media in the virtual and physical spheres.

    Findings – Road‐maps were constructed in three thematic areas: society, companies, and local environment. The results were crystallized into five development lines. The first development line is transparency and its increasing role in society. The second development line is the rise of a ubiquitous participatory communication model. The third development is reflexive empowerment citizens. The fourth development line is the duality of personalization/fragmentation vs mass effects/integration. The fifth development line is the new relations of physical and virtual worlds.

    Originality/value – The study of social media has been focusing mainly on its technological aspects from the current perspective. This paper forms a future‐oriented perspective to social media in a wider societal context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-26
    Number of pages24
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • social networks
    • electronics media
    • transformational leadership
    • innovation


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