There Will Be Web Jobs for Social Scientists
A leading technology analyst firm says that many social sciences roles will be needed to work with corporations in helping to better understand the Web behavior of customers, online communities, personal brands and the spectrum of social networking communication.
recent report "Social Science Meets Technology in Next-Generation
Jobs," Gartner Vice President Kathy Harris discusses in some detail
four areas of jobs needed in the near future. Though she never really
uses the words "social networks" the implication is that most companies
aren't really geared toward taking advantage of the impact of these
online communities, and that the numbers will be too large to ignore,
regardless of the business you are in.
"Many of the needed
technical capabilities originate in the social sciences and are aimed
at usability and adoption of technology-related business services," Harris said in a release.
"These capabilities embody the notion of -action at the interface'
between the enterprise and its markets or between business management
and technology management. Therefore, organizations are likely to shift
the responsibility for leveraging technology outside centralized IT
organizations and into the business units responsible for growth and
innovation of revenue, products and services."
The four areas detailed include:
- Web User Experience roles that include UI designers, virtual-assistant designers and interaction directors.
- Behavior Analysis roles that include Web psychologists, community designers, and Web/social network miners.
- Information Specialist roles that include information anthropologists who are expected to play historical Web fact finding and assisting in legal analysis, intellectual property management and where the quality of information is at risk.
- Digital Lifestyle Experts roles that include helping senior management understand whats going on and stay aware, and building personal brands and managing online personas for desired online effect.
Some of these roles are starting to happen already, and yet some of them seem to part of the evolution of pre-exsisting job titles that may not actually change. I imagine when we start talking about "information specialists" roles they might end up being extensions of legal departments, especially where brand and product protection is required.
Much of this seems as if it
will be part of what has to be going on in the advertising world,
where much of the behavior of online communities is studied and
modified for marketing purposes. You don't have to look much further
than Google's purchase of DoubleClick to see the connections between
online behavior and advertising.
Yet, Gartner is talking in a
larger sense for those companies that want to take advantage of social
networking in new ways, and want to do it internally if and where they
"The future is solidly connected to the Web and new work streams clearly need to arise to support this," said Harris in the same release. "Creative, artistic and clever people will develop the early iterations of these new jobs. This will enable businesses and government to take early advantage of new capabilities and develop them into mainstream skills."