Sarah Cox Design Blog

Parise, S., & Guinan, P. (2008). Marketing using web 2.0. Proceedings from HICSS ’08: Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 281.

Purpose:

Web 2.0 tools, such as blogs, wikis, and online communities, are changing the way consumers use the Web.  Consumers now have the ability to generate and share their own content and opinions, often regarding company brands and products (Parise & Guinan, 2008).  This presents marketing practitioners with potential value and challenges.  The purpose of the research was to learn how companies actively engaged with the usage of Web 2.0 tools in their marketing activities (Parise & Guinan, 2008).

Methods:

The authors conducted secondary research on companies involved with Web 2.0 deployment, as well as interviewing organizations who were early adopters of the tools and used them efficiently in marketing practice.  The organizations varied across many industries, including retail stores, healthcare, technology, and business consulting services (Parise & Guinan, 2008).  Over 30 in-depth interviews were performed with key organization stakeholders.

Findings:

The interview research found four principles which guided managers’ marketing actions:

  1. Facilitate users in generating content – Web-based customer communities to solicit product ideas and feedback. Company sponsored blogs and wikis.
  2. Focus on building a community – Focus on usability. Create a user-friendly system for the exchange of knowledge among users. Add incentives for community memebers.
  3. Ensure authenticity of the message – User-generated (marketing) content is becoming an increasingly important role. Consumers are beginning to shape how the product is perceived in the marketplace.
  4. Look for marketing opportunities through experimentation – Experiment with digital media. Engage consumers with real-time chat and support on company website. Enable interaction through animations, audio, and video.(Parise & Guinan, 2008).

Analysis:

The ability of consumers to generate and share their own content does involve potential risks to a company.  Although marketing groups are excited about customer contributions, the company has less control over what is being said about their products or services. Many companies are hesitant to incorporate these opportunities into their business practices for fear that it will do more harm than good.  Companies need to realize that if managed correctly, they can benefit from these opportunities. Companies who follow the four principles cited in the research, can overcome such risks (Parise & Guinan, 2008).

I agree that with Web 2.0, consumers are now able to somewhat “shape” how a product is perceived in the marketplace. Even if a company doesn’t have a community to write complaints or give feedback, it will most likely be posted on a blog, on a tweet, or somewhere else on the web. And I am sure that many of you have read online reviews of a product before purchasing it. I know I do! Sometimes you judge whether or not you want to buy the product based on how other consumers “shaped” the product. But there are often both good and bad reviews, and sometimes it boils down to which is more convincing and do you want to risk it. 😛

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This evening I was on YouTube watching a video my friend sent me. At the top of the page was an alert Live Now: Ratatat performing at Coachella music festival. I love Ratatat so I clicked over to watch their set. The page was laid out nicely. In the middle it had the Live Webcast with different channels below for other bands that were playing on separate stages. To the right was a schedule of currently playing and upcoming performances. But what got my attention most besides the live webcast itself was the Twitter feed below the video. The feed was constantly updating showing every tweet that mentioned #CoachellaLive or #Coachella. Immediately above the feed was a button to Connect with Twitter. I thought this was cool to be able to tweet directly from the page while you’re watching the webcast. You can also see what other people are tweeting, others watching the live webcast and the people who are actually at the festival.  To the right of the video is a button to Connect with Facebook and a space above it for Connect to access your shout-outs. I’m sure it displays something more interesting but I’ll never know since I refuse to connect anything with my Facebook account. 😛 Click on the screenshot at the top of the post to see more detail.

On a related note, when I was on Twitter, I saw that Ratatat was a trending topic, so I clicked it. I was reading through what people were saying and I thought it was amusing that some tweets said “What? Why is a pokemon trending?”

Ratatat = Band                Rattata = Pokemon           #justsayin

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Jansen, B., Zhang, M., Sobel, K., & Chowdury, A. (2009). Micro-blogging as online word of mouth branding. Proceedings from CHI EA ’09: Proceedings of the 27th international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. New York, NY.

Purpose:
The purpose of the paper is to report the results from the authors’ research investigating micro-blogging as a form of online word of mouth branding. Word-of-mouth (WOM) branding is considered to be a powerful marketing tool for companies to influence consumers (Jansen, Zhang, Sobel, & Chowdury, 2009). Micro-blogging is a new form of online WOM (OWOM) that has the potential to change branding in OWOM campaigns. The study examined the expressions of the brand attitudes in micro-blog postings. The authors’ aim was to answer the question: “What are the overall trends of brand micro blogging?” (Jansen et al., 2009).

Methods:
In the research, the authors analyzed 149,472 Twitter micro-blog postings containing branding comments, sentiments, and opinions. Tweets were collected using the Summize tool, a popular service for searching tweets and keeping up with emerging trends in real-time (Jansen et al., 2009). Jansen et al. mention that “Summize uses a lexicon of approximately 200,000 uni-grams and bi-grams of words and phrases that have a probability distribution to determine the sentiment of the brand for a given period.” The overall structure of these micro-blog postings, types of expressions, and sentiment fluctuations were investigated and determined using the classifier (Jansen et al., 2009). The whole tweet is analyzed by the classifier to determine its sentiment. Key brands were selected from several lists of top brands and were spread across major industries to ensure a good cross segment sample.

Findings:
The authors analyzed expressions of opinions or sentiments of 149,472 tweets over a 13-week period for 50 brands. More than 60 percent of the weekly sentiments for the brands were positive with just over 22 percent being negative (Jansen et al., 2009). Sentiment change from week to week was also examined. A change in sentiment or a change to no tweets occurred more than 64 percent of the time (Jansen et al., 2009). The findings suggest that customers more likely to provide information are those with extremely positive and satisfied or extremely negative experiences.

Analysis:
Micro-blogging has the potential to become a key application in the attention economy . It has the ability to provide information and attract potential customers to other online media, such as company websites or blogs (Jansen et al., 2009). Companies can monitor micro-blogging sites concerning their own brand to gain information that would not have otherwise been known. By tracking micro-blog postings, the companies can immediately intervene with unsatisfied customers. Monitoring the brand of competitors also provides valuable competitive intelligent information (Jansen et al., 2009). Micro-blogging can be viewed as a promising competitive intelligence source that companies can use given the ease of monitoring any brand sentiment.

So the past few days my friend has been trying to get me to use Star.me “A place to tell your friends how great they are.” I received an email a few weeks ago about receiving a star, but it didn’t say who it was from or what it was so I dismissed it as spam and deleted it. Then I hung out with her this week and she asked Why I hadn’t joined the site or accepted the star. I asked what it was and she pulled up her page and showed me. Basically you just collect different stars. Stars shaped like cats, stars saying #1, etc. Not really something I’m interested in. So today when I checked my Facebook, she had sent me a request and posted it on my wall. I decided to click it and went to the site but it said Click here to log in with your Facebook account.

I don’t know about you, but I do not allow ANY third party applications or any other websites in general to access my Facebook. If you do, you give the apps access to the information you have on your page. Even with Twitter, I am very hesitant to let external sites sign in with my Twitter account, so I just don’t. Dr. V has posted a few surveys on Twitter, but when I click on it it asks to sign in with my Twitter account, so I don’t take the survey.

I personally like to keep everything separate. Even with email. I have a variety of email accounts for a variety of purposes. I know that you can have all of your email accounts forward mail to one account, but I choose to not use it. I don’t really consider it to be a hassle having each account. I just do not like having all of my information available in one place. I like to spread it out.

I also turn off the location of my tweets and don’t use services such as FourSquare. I don’t want people to know where I am or what I’m doing unless I’m the one telling them.

I guess I would say that everyone values their privacy to their own individual extent. Do any of you use third party applications on Facebook, FourSquare, or similar applications? Why or why not?

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In addition to class readings, the articles I have been reviewing for my research article analysis discuss brands and consumer communities. One of my earlier posts mentions how many brands have created consumer communities for product reviews, recommendations, criticism, complaints, and even company feedback.

Earlier tonight I made Pesto Pasta Primavera from Kashi. It was delicious. I decided to visit Kashi’s website to see if there was a recipe for the basil pesto sauce. When I was on the product page, I scrolled down to the comments and the most recent one was from Kashi and said “I just want to make a comment for you all out there. I hope that you who are reviewing our products are not just saying negative comments to say them. Please be honest…” You can view the page here. I browsed through the other comments which were both negative and positive.

I just found it very odd that the company would say “I hope that [you] are not just saying negative comments to say them.”  The consumers are being honest! They are sharing their own opinion of your product with other consumers, something you’re allowing them to do by having the community. You can’t expect everyone to like everything ever. There’s always going to be someone that does not like something for whatever reason and they’re entitled to their own opinion. Instead of the comment they left they maybe could have put “We’re sorry to hear that you did not like this frozen entree. Fortunately, we have other products that you may want to try sometime that would better suit your tastes.” (They would probably be able to phrase this better, but you get the point).

On a slightly related note, I sometimes check Rotten Tomatoes for movie reviews before seeing a movie. I will check how high it is rated, what reviewers have to say, etc. Just because there are bad reviews, doesn’t necessarily stop me from seeing the movie anyway.

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Everything is Miscellaneous

The prologue discusses the layout of a Staples store and how the physical mapping of the store needs to reflect the organization of the information. Because human, physical abilities are limited, the amount of information provided to us is constrained by our ability to see. The organization of information in a store needs to be as simple as possible for a great amount of individuals to understand. The digital world, however, is different among individuals and has the ability to instantly rearrange itself for each person and each person’s current task. Throughout the years, physical limitations have guided and limited the organization of knowledge.  Our ideas have been organized with principles designed for use in the physical world, limited by the laws of physics.  The digital world does not have such limitations, allowing our ideas, organizations, and knowledge itself to change.

Digital information is much easier to store and have more of than physical information. It can also be assigned multiple places simultaneously. It is better to sort, order, and cluster digital photos in as many ways as you can to make them more miscellaneous. This can make a photo easier to find in the future.  There are three orders of order:

  • First-order organization – Organize things themselves (ex: silverware in drawers)
  • Second-order – Need experts to go through information, ideas, and knowledge and organize them (ex: card catalog) | Problem is that they are unstable over time and take up space.
  • Third-order – Content is digitized into bits, and the information about the content is bits

The problem with organizing matters one way, is that you are disordering them in other ways. This often results in hiding more than is being revealed. A problem with second-order is that people who control the organization of information have more power than those who create the information. Both the first and second-orders require a winner and is thus viewed as a power struggle. Tagging grew out of a very personal need.  Instead of using a standard set of categories decided by experts, individuals have the ability to create their own categories in the form of tags. Although relationships are messier, they’re more usable. The tags are more meaningful to the individuals who created them.

Miscellaneous does not resemble our traditional view of knowledge. Knowledge we thought has four characteristics:

  1. Two contradictory ideas about something factual cannot both be right.
  2. We assume reality is not ambiguous, neither is knowledge.
  3. No one person can comprehend knowledge.
  4. Experts achieve their position by working their way up.

Experts and their institutions are no longer in charge of our ideas. Four new strategic principles are emerging:

  1. Filter on the way out, not on the way in.
    • Filtering on the way in rules out items that might be of value to people.
    • Filtering on the way out increases value by locating what’s of value to that individual at that time
  2. Put each leaf on as many branches as possible because it makes it more findable and usable.
  3. Everything is metadata and everything can be a label. We can see connections that we would not have noticed in the first two orders.
  4. Give up control.

Users are now in charge of the organization of the information they browse. Folksonomy is the term for how people tag items. Individuals have different motivations for tagging including opinion expression, performance, and activism. Individuals have the power to order their own world in a public context.

Evaluating Tagging Behavior

In order to improve existing social bookmarking systems and design new ones, there needs to be an understanding of how to evaluate tagging behavior.

The authors came up with six tag metrics to understand the characteristics of a social bookmarking system:

  • Tag growth – the creation of new tags over time
  • Tag reuse – how often tags are being recycled among users
  • Tag non-obviousness – how often the tag itself occurs in the text of the paper – adds more intellectual value to the paper than an obvious tag
  • Tag discrimination – how well do they discriminate the resources they are tagging
  • Tag frequency – evaluating frequency over time can help tags that are increasingly becoming dormant
  • Tag patterns – Can help to identify peak and dormant periods in users’ tagging behavior

These metrics are regarded as a starting point for developing more exhaustive measurement schemes for tags and tagging behavior.

For my research, I would like to do something along the lines of social media use in small businesses or entrepreneurial endeavors. I would like to research how these businesses use social media to market their companies and reach more customers. What social media tools are they using to market their company? Why? How effective are these tools? Is one better than the other? This is something I think would be interesting to find out.

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