Category Archives: social media

Research Lifestreaming

Harris (click to embiggen):

I’m fascinated, but I think the universe might collapse in on itself in some sort of divide-by-zero error if I were to sign up with @researchrants.

In any case, I want to hear from anyone who does sign up … and I’d love to see any examples of gaming this system. I mean, there have got to be brand managers salivating over this, right?


Filed under a challenger appears, Harris, Market Research, social media, web research

Are You Polling a Lot of Miners?

Just clicked a link to take a survey about Twitter, hosted at SurveyMonkey, and was immediately struck by the odd choices in their “profession” question:

I’m frequently aggravated by this question on a personal level, because “market research” is almost never a choice. While you sometimes see a “marketing” choice, if there is a “research” option, it somehow always seems (either explicitly or via connotation in my mind) to be about white-coated goggle-wearing folks in chemistry labs. But I’m not really talking about my own experience here as much as I’m just commenting about how odd it seems that Twitter, of all things, expects to have so many of its users working in the mining, farming, and construction fields, none of which traditionally lend themselves to being able to sit in front of a computer and update the world about your latest moment-to-moment activities. While I’m sure there’s a guy in a combine somewhere right now using Foursquare to tell us exactly which corner of his field he’s in, I’m going out on a limb and guessing there aren’t more than a handful of guys like that. (And why on earth are farming and mining combined? Seems weird.) If I were designing this piece of research for Twitter, I think I’d have a lot more choices that might apply to people who are likely to be using a computer for 8 hours a day.

tl; dr: one size doesn’t fit all. Customize and update where needed.


Filed under answer choices, Market Research, social media, web research

Also Not About Research: Why Can’t Newspapers Figure The Internet Out?

Looks like I’m adding a couple hundred more words to the millions already written this year about Why The Media is Dying. This screencap from a New York Times article today about famous people hiring people to “ghost twitter” for them:


You’d think those links (or, as I’m sure they call them at the Times, hyperlinks), which appear throughout the story for just about ever well-known person they mention, would go to the corresponding Twitter accounts, right?

Of course they don’t. They go to pages the Times has built that contain links to all the other NYT stories about those people. (And, hilariously, both Obama links go to the same place.)

How can they possibly be this bad at the internet?

There is, as always, a lesson for researchers mixed in: there’s no point using new technology if you ignore the advantages it gives you. Don’t make people re-enter demographic information that’s already in your database; don’t make people select their state from a pull-down menu when you could just let them click on a map. Don’t make people hit a “submit” button when you could just auto-advance once they click their response. Recognize that Flash is pretty much universal by now and there’s really no reason not to take advantage of what it can do.

Don’t be a newspaper.


Filed under bad user experiences, social media, the web is a visual medium

Meanwhile, in Facebook/NCAA News…

This has nothing to do with bad research.

Bad Facebook, that’s another story.

So one of the basketball pools I’m in is hosted at I installed their Facebook application because I was hoping it would let me log into the main site through the application, which would let me attach my bracket to my profile. (I’m 8 for 8 so far, but Villanova is making me nervous.) That didn’t seem to be an option, so I went to delete it … but first, I screengrabbed this strange status updater thing that was built into the app:


So, last year, I told a different CBS Sports application that North Carolina was my favorite team; it pulled that info from somewhere and pre-wrote all these status updates for me. Six of the eight pre-written updates insert the name of my favorite team into the update:  all of the six were written as if the name of the team was singular. As a result, all of those updates come out looking like they were written by an idiot.

But here’s the thing:  I can’t think offhand of ANY sports team, college or otherwise, whose name is singular. Tar Heels. Wildcats. Orangemen. Huskies. Banana Slugs. Hoyas.  I might be wrong, but if I’m not, whoever developed this app for CBS has managed to ensure that six of eight of their status updates will never be right.

There’s definitely a lesson of some sort in here for researchers — beware of automated processes that might make you look stupid is probably it — but I’m not really going for the tie-in here — I’m just making fun of some bad, bad Facebook application design.


Filed under social media

Lunchtime Poll

(because I’m eating lunch.)

I’ll expand on this later — I don’t want to pollute it by explaining myself too much.

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Filed under Market Research, open questions, social media, web research

Another Strange Facebook Poll

I’ve edited this image to remove the names and images of the people who posted the items around the “poll.” I left them in just to show the context — the thing just appears right smack dab in the middle of all the normal content generated by my friends.


Weird, right? Also, I live something like 900 miles from Kohler, Wisconsin, and don’t think I’ve ever been closer than 400 miles to it — and that was just to change planes in Detroit.  It’d be one thing if they were asking me about Milwaukee, or Madison, or some other city in Wisconsin that I’d possibly heard of at some point in my life, as opposed to tiny little Kohler, population 1,926, according to Wikipedia.

The results, by the way, seem to suggest that someone is wasting their money on this apparently completely untargeted piece of research:


Very strange. I’d be really curious to know if there were any follow-ups to the 7% who said yes, though I think I’d be surprised if there were.

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Filed under Market Research, social media, what

That bad Facebook research was displayed onscreen in Davos

You can see it in this clip, which is ridiculously long, but the results are displayed right at the start:

You can’t really see the results very clearly, but they’re there. More here.

There are probably a couple of good things in here (including further evidence of the long-deserved decline of MySpace), but I don’t think I have a handle on what they are just now.


Filed under Market Research, social media, web research