It’s kind of past the season where people throw up new ideas of what the future entails (this seems to happen largely towards the end of the year, because for some reason, the new year seems to trigger the sort of “what’s coming next” type of thoughts. Though if you think about it hard enough, it doesn’t really make sense since every day or any day is a good time to attempt some crystal ball gazing. But I digress.
I was at the HP #futureis event earlier this year, and there were many interesting presentations given by the various folk who shared. And yet, right now, while the whole Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare phenomenon has taken various parts of the world by storm, sometimes it easy to forget that there are many out there who still mainly stick to good old fashioned email, and surfing websites. So what constitutes this whole “social media” concept, anyway? It probably means different things to different people, and just when you think that you’re starting to understand the landscape, it moves again. We’re probably not even scratching the surface of what could possibly be done with all the information we have, and even trying to make sense of the upcoming trends in the scene.
Real time is so Yesterday; Predictive Analytics is the Now <?>
Last year around this time, the chatter was all about the real time phenomenon and how microblogging sites like Twitter could contribute to this. A year later, Twitter still surfaces in conversations, but now we’re looking into something that I’ve recently become very interested in – using past and present data to predict the future. Apparently, Twitter can even predict box office revenues of Hollywood movies, better than some established standards. All this is inherently fascinating to me, and something I’d love to explore more. The end of the research pretty much sums up the importance of this.
So effectively, this could apply to product launches, electorial campaigns (as the paper highlights) and all sorts of other CRM related issues.
What is Privacy?
On top of that, the definition of privacy continues to evolve as well. I’ll have to say that the behaviours linked to Foursquare still border on stalkerish creepy at times, and other sources like Facebook house such an incredible amount of (mostly accurate and genuine) data about demographics, user interests and the like, it’s seriously hard not to see this as a gold mine for marketers/advertisers. Imagine the conclusions that could be drawn from all this information.
What goes viral? Some good folk at UPenn/Wharton have published some research studying the list of the most emailed articles on the NYtimes that suggests that positive, rather than negative news is more viral (all those in PR can heave a sigh of relief) and that “useful” information is more likely to be shared, given that these could enhance connections with others. That goes for awe (inspiring) stories too. The generalizability of the results is a little suspect, given that it was largely confined to the readers of the NYtimes.com, and those who actually use the email function, but interesting nonetheless.
Share Prices & the Bottomline Another angle that has surfaced recently has been the effort to try and measure some real world impact of social media. We have the entire situation with Nestle and the impact of the Facebook debacle on it’s share prices. Zilch, at least according to this article. My sensing is that this is largely to do with the nature of the conversation. I do not deny it’s importance, but CSR for the most part, has been a tricky component to compute in terms of tangible profits. Perhaps it might have been different, should the issue have centered around an actual product, or service deficit. ROI is a tricky thing to nail down, one simplistic formula would probably not be able to encompass all the variables to be taken into account.
These are just some random musings that have come up… More about some other trends and thoughts on those in the next post!