Tag Archives: trending

Social Media Replacing Research Surveys?

Many journalists, bloggers and businesses rely on research surveys to direct their products and output.

Research surveys have been vital in the past but the top research executive of Procter & Gamble Co., (Joan Lewis) has said that she expects research surveys to dramatically decline in importance by 2020. The reason?-  social media.

Joan Lewis, is responsible for P&G’s $350 million budget in annual market-research outlays. She has warned that the advertising industry should get away from “believing a method, particularly survey research, will be the solution to anything,” she said. “We need to be methodology agnostic.” However this doesn’t just apply to the advertising industry. It has more far reaching applications to any businesses or media.

Another important element P&G warned was that businesses are not being interactive enough. Indeed, P&G were the only UK company among the top five companies to use Twitter.

Joan told the conference: “The more people see two-way engagement and being able to interact with people all over the world, I think the less they want to be involved in structured research,” she said. “If I have something to say to that company now, there are lots of ways to say it.”

As UGC is recognised by big business we should realize it is just as important in our online community and journalism.

Using online polls, Twitter and other forms of trending provide an insight into the feelings of the online community. As the online community can include a whole strata of the public, it can offer a good cross section and therefore act as an accurate research facility. The ability to target a specific audience by targeting different social media forums is also a key advantage.

Well, what do you think? Vote below!

By Vanessa Holland

Reporting Revolutions: Are we too reliant on Twitter, Facebook and other UGC?

Photo: Maggie Osama via Flickr - Creative Commons License

Egypt has been dominating the headlines and trending on twitter for the last week. The latest in the series of so called ‘twitter revolutions’ that have brought change from Moldova to Iran to Tunisia and is now in the land of the Pharoahs.

But are we overestimating the impact of Twitter and Facebook? Also as journalists as we too reliant on tweets coming through from hard to reach places?

Firstly, Twitter and Facebook don’t bring about or even inspire revolutions, they aren’t out there on the streets egging on protestors. Social Media helps people to shout a little louder and it’s interesting to see that governments are pretty keen to shut them down or block them off (Iran tried and Eygpt plain severed the Internet). But I’m pretty sure that the tens of people that have self-immolated, and the hundreds of thousands that have protested across North Africa these last weeks didn’t do it for the tweets. But as a genuine protest against their autocratic governments based on long term greviances, excacerbated by rising food prices and unemployment.

While Twitter is very useful for real time updates from rapidly emerging situations – how much can we trust what information is put out there?

During the Iranian revolutions when foreign journalists weren’t allowed to enter the country Twitter became one of the key sources of information for foreign news services. But who are we to trust? In his latest book ‘The Net Delusion’ Evgeny Morozov says that twitter and facebook are actually not the ‘freer’ of people but can instead be used to covertly spread disinformation and tighten government control.

So if governments are sometimes using Twitter to further their own aims and severing or shutting down the internet during protests who exactly is getting this information onto the Internet? Blogs, twitter, facebook and youtube are all ablaze with new updates and startling videos.

Yet western journalists who couldn’t reach or didn’t bother to reach people on the ground in Iran, just scrolled down the English tweets searching for #mubarak #egypt or #iranelection and getting whatever info there was. It just seems like lazy journalism.

I accept that Twitter and Facebook are useful for mobilising the diaspora of a nation that is under going rapid political change as well as rasing the international profile of their movement. It just doesn’t seem like it is the best way to report on these events after all wouldn’t most people involved be tweeting in Farsi or Arabic?

**Since posting it turns out that google have introduced a voice-to-twitter service to help Egyptians to continue tweets during the protests.