Like it or not, consumers are talking about your brand. And while they talk, researchers are taking notes. In an age where consumer-generated content is aggregated and judged for macro-sentiment by a new breed of “social scientists,” customer research no longer means an intrusive site survey or artificial focus group. It’s happening in real time, right in front of our eyes.
As the New York Times Magazine notes in its tenth annual “Year in Ideas issue,” Social scientists have started using social networking data to gauge larger trends in public perception. They’re predicting everything from movie box office performances to stock market movements. Who knew 140 characters could be so valuable?
Well, it’s the “aggregate value” of all the tweeting that’s really valuable. Of course, we all knew that moods and attitudes expressed online could be extrapolated as indications of broader public sentiment, but now social scientists are organizing this user-generated information to predict future trends.