OK, back online with The Online Evolution 2008.
1:30PM – This is to be an interactive session led by Nick Buckley who is directing the social media initiative at GfK in the UK. The general topic is supposed to be about understanding Online Evolution with a bunch of subtopics. My table has been assigned the topic: Effective Conversations. I won't go through all of the details, but here are the takeaways:
- Communities might be an excellent tool for knowledge management, especially tacit knowledge. Key is that these cannot be imposed by management but need to be somewhat spontaneous among people with common interests.
- It's interesting that a couple of people have successfully used LinkedIn to do this.
- Employees mostly think they are cool but management worries about them being time wasters.
3:00PM – Now for "more research oriented." What we see is not only a lot of traditional advertising being done in communities and so we also are bringing over traditional methods (panels and surveys) to the community space. Does this make any sense?
The "power law of participation" shows that lots of people are willing to click and read but only a few are willing to really interact and write. With time we see more and more growth in writers. Game mechanics reflect the basics of communities as well: collect things, earn points, be able to customize stuff, get and give feedback, and exchange stuff. These are the key principles of computer gaming and also of YouTube.
Ok, finally a research app. Product or brand focused-communities provide an easy way to measure the response to new product introductions. A social bookmarking site like Delicious can provide a lot of insight into what kinds of people prefer what kinds of brands by showing their other interests..
3:30PM -- A panel has now formed specifically focused on how the research business can play in the social media space but it seems to have immediately slipped back into the current world of panels, online research, etc. rather than new media, communities, etc. The big question is what is the likely impact of the financial crisis on MR? Since there is no consensus I'll just tell you what I think. When there is a financial crisis in the stock market there is a flight to quality. In research, clients run away from quality. With the advent of online we started down a slippery slope on continually redefining what is "good enough." With communities and mobile we are broadening that definition. Hopefully the counterbalance is that there is so much other information—survey and non-survey--on topics, other points of measurement, that good interpretation is possible. In other words, translating those "good enough" survey results into real insights by calibrating it against what else we know.
With that bit of wisdom I am signing off. It's been fascinating. I find it very hard to get this kind of discussion in the US, a problem we ought to solve. But right now I'm off to sign up for Facebook. After all, the fasting growing demographic on Facebook is the older 40 crowd!