Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Facebook’s Naked Reality: Social Networks Research Insights

July 10th, 2009 by and

It’s already an established phenomenon that in the social networking era friendship is more virtual and 6 degrees of separation has now been reduced to mere 3 degrees. However, seminal work of Dr. Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist, concluded that the cognitive power of the brain limits the size of the social network that an individual of any given species can develop. Extrapolating from the brain sizes and social networks of apes, Dr Dunbar suggested that the size of the human brain allows stable networks of about 148. Rounded to 150, this has become famous as “the Dunbar number”.

However the Dunbar number represents a person’s wider network. The actual number of individuals that represents his social “core network” with whom individuals “can discuss important matters”, numbers only 3 for Americans.

1. Do social networks increase the size of people’s personal networks?

Research findings of Dr. Cameron Marlow, the “in-house sociologist” at Facebook, suggests that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with the Dunbar number.

Facebook real friends-Trendsspotting

Image Source: Business Week

Interesting to observe here that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. For example, an average Facebook user—one with 120 friends—generally trades emails or responds to the postings of only 7 closets friends. But, as  Facebook’s team reveals, social network interactions as taken at Facebook brings users to passively engage with 2-2.5 times more people in ones network (passive friends with whom a Facebook user maintains either ‘one-way relationship’ or ‘just barely in touch’).

2. Is online social networking as local as offline social networking?

Researchers at Hebrew University analyzed the messaging habits of 100,000 Facebook users by zip code & observed that the volume of e-mail traffic as a function of geographical distance follows an inverse power law i.e. the more local the sender-receiver, the higher the density of messages.
Distance power law

Our take :

Arrow4_RED Highly interactive social platforms as Facebook can extend to a degree (“2x increase in connectivity”) the communication outside a person’s core network.

Arrow4_RED Technology would continue enabling an environment conducive to ‘overshare‘, but we would still maintain a pattern of intimacy preferably with those who are located over shorter distance.
Avg number of friends-Trendsspotting
Image Source: Universal McCann

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Twitter – Do Friends Count More than Followers? HP Academic Research

February 27th, 2009 by


HP Lab’s research conducted on twitter – the world’s greatest public SMS network shows that the number of friends (and not user’s number of followers) is the actual driver of twitter user’s activity. In this post I will review HP’s research findings and present my disagreement with the research conclusions.

A study of social interactions within Twitter (via Snake Coffee), conducted by B. A. Huberman, D.M. Romero, and F. Wu (HP Labs) reveals that the driver of usage is a sparse and hidden network of connections underlying the “declared” set of friends and followers.
In a paper named Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope (PDF) the researchers investigated how relevant a list of “friends” is to members of the network. Practically, they were interested in finding out how many people each user communicates directly with through Twitter. They have defined user’s friend as a person whom the user directed at least two posts. By that the researchers were able to compare number of friends to number of followers.

Research Results:

1. Saturation of delivered content:

The researchers expected that users who receive attention from many people (hold many followers) will post more often than users who receive little attention. Indeed, the total number of posts increases with both the number of followers and friends. However, as Figure 1 shows, the number of total posts eventually saturates as a function of the number of followers. This implies that users with a large number of followers are not necessarily those with very large number of total posts.


On the other hand, the number of total posts does not saturate as a function of number of friends, as seen on Figure 2.


The researchers concluded that in order to predict how active a Twitter user is, the number of friends is a more accurate signal than the number of his followers.

2. Social saturation:

The research shows (see Figure 4) that even though the number of
friends initially increases as the number of followees increases, after a while the number of friends saturates. This trend can be explained by the fact that the cost of “declaring” a new followee is very low compared to the cost of maintaining friends. Hence, the number of people a user actually communicates with eventually stops increasing while the number of followees can continue to grow indefinitely.


3. Reciprocity:

The research presents evidence to reciprocated attention. On average, 90 percent of a user’s friends reciprocate attention by being friends of the user as well (see figure 6).


Research Conclusions:

1. Twitter users have a very small number of friends compared to the number of followers and followees they declare. This implies the existence of two different networks: a very dense one made up of followers and followees, and a sparser and simpler network of actual friends. The latter proves to be a more influential network in driving Twitter usage since users with many actual friends tend to post more updates than users with few actual friends. On the other hand, users with many followers or followees post updates more infrequently than those with few followers or followees.

2. A link between any two people does not necessarily imply an interaction between them. In the case of Twitter, most of the links declared within Twitter were meaningless from an interaction point of view.

My observations:

HP’s research provided an important reflection of interaction patterns which characterize twitter, namely reciprocity and the social interaction pattern.
At the same time, I find HP’s research assumptions to be mistaken. The twitter interaction is not based only on a personal direct interaction. The number of followers a twitter member holds reflects user’s ability to influence by content. Therefore- it can not be counted as “meaningless from an interaction point of view”. Twitter is not only a social network (and by that it differs from Facebook and MySpace) – its a User Generated Content as well.

TrendsSpotting will discuss twitter observations in a Trend Report – soon to be released. I would be happy to receive your own insights on twitter interaction patterns and social norms.

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Where’s the Buzz :Facebook Shank & Knife Crime

July 28th, 2008 by

facebook shank

Facebook ‘shank’, a part of its SuperPoke! application , has been removed following complaints from anti-knife crime campaigners. ‘Shank’ is street slang for stabbing. Most of the SuperPoke tools are although harmless , Shank – featuring a cartoon style image of a knife, raised a number of concerns. UK is gripped by a knife-crime epidemic with 28 teenagers dying violently this year.

SuperPoke! and Facebook came in for criticism in today’s Sun. The uncle of Rob Knox, the Harry Potter actor who succumbed to stab wound in May, told the paper that the application “incited violence”. The Online Petition on Sun grabbed more than 23,000 signature.

“Slide does not condone violence whatsoever, and our SuperPoke! application is meant to foster fun, virtual communications between friends. We have removed this particular action as it misrepresents the SuperPoke! brand” – Slide spokesman told.

Last year we discussed Facebook ‘Poke‘ – meaning & psychology behind it. Since then Facebook has become a place for distasteful buzz words like ‘stab’ , ‘smack’

facebook shank stab smack

Occurrences of Shank , Stab & Smack on Facebook Walls over time by counts

Facebook users are already challenging this trend. Already there have been organised demonstrations in Facebook groups ‘Stop our young people killing each other’. One of the best argument comes from within Facebook only :

if you don’t like the action…”DON’T USE IT”

Knife crime is a serious issue, but it’s not Facebook’s fault.

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10 tools to make meaningful (instant) friends

August 13th, 2007 by


Much has been said about the Facebook vs. MySpace trend: the different design, the emotional effect, the viral effect, the social effect, the overall potential.

Its more than that.

Facebook brought practical meaning to friendships.

I’ve been playing around with Facebook’s applications. Facebook emphasizes the role of friends interaction in its basic friends features (wall, feeds, notes, networks etc.). It offers about 30 more applications relevant to users friends (friends stats, tracking, photos, fans, analyzers) – all provide extended meaning to having friends. This is a need MySpace hasn’t dealt with.

While the internet has brought us to acquire new concepts of interactions, I think we have a lot to learn (re-learn) from the concept of friends in the real world. Taking it back few years, before claiming a person as our friend, we used to have some prior interactions where we studied him carefully (face to face interaction made it easy because we had many cues, instincts and heuristics to rely upon), we learned this person preferences, ideals and environment. We had the time to watch and observe this person react to different situations and to different people. Having so much information in aid we were able to consider this person as a potential friend. That was only the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

Time and shared experiences lead us to strengthen the friendship. We, mostly unconsciously, constantly re-evaluated our friendships and reciprocated “outputs” according to our perception of received inputs.

Nowadays, we join platforms to allow us shortcuts to friendships. All we are expected to do is to click on “add to friends” or “accept friend” button, and here we are – best friends ever. While this phenomenon needs yet to be fully investigated by psychologists – I wish to focus on the features I believe to be important to this instant friendship mechanism. Social network platforms must consider our need to observe our friends and replace the “time and experience” part. They must always keep in mind how human interacted for so many years.

Out of the understanding that the friendship process hasn’t come to an end by pressing “add/accept” buttons, I have written the “10 tools to make meaningful (instant) friends”

Time indicator:

1. Sort my friends according to the frequency of interactions we have (best-good-remote friends). This would be a great key to identify friends I neglected, and a cue for future selection of my – so many – friends.

2. Notify me if I have friends I haven’t yet contacted, or friends I haven’t contacted for a long time.

Mutual experience:

3. Show me my friends not only according to our similar interests, networks and friends, but also by events we attend (will you be making it to Burning Man?), the new restaurant we discovered, the blog we most frequently read, etc.

Social information:

(As in wedding presents – when you wish to remember what you received from a friend to better adjust the wedding gift you are about to give.)

4. Sort friends according to their friends-making achievements over time (indication of influencers)

5.  Remind me who initiated this friendship (I feel more obligated to friends I have added).

6. Provide tools to personally sort friends according to relevant parameters (work, blog, school mates, family). Next steps (1)– personal algorithm: let the user decide on weights of meaningful parameters (2)  Users should decide whether information can be transmitted from one group to another.

7.  Provide the option to notify new friends of their serial numbers (you are about to be Taly’s 23 rd friend). Great for ego maniacs…


8. As good friends often do – allow the option for friends to recommend their friends to me and provide me with the reason why I should meet them (here you have a great viral effect!).

9. Tell me who of my friends has commented in my blog (the one outside the network), added me to his bookmarks etc.

10. For the “time and experience” – provide me with tools to involve my friends in organized interactions in the form of group games (from free associations on chosen topics, to chess tournaments in gaming rooms). This will bring to new concepts where friends will be turning into intra- networks.

More suggestions to the art of instant friends-making?

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Facebook vs. MySpace: 2007 West Side Story

July 4th, 2007 by


It is hard to forget Rupert Murdoch reaction when asked whether newspaper readers were drifting off to MySpace. His reaction was: “I wish they were. They’re all going to Facebook at the moment”. While it is certain that facebook growth has a lot to do with myspace users moving inside, it can be suggested that social network users are not loyal to only one network.  According to Parks Associates online surveys “40% percent of MySpace users keep profiles on other social networking sites such as Friendster and Facebook. Loyalty among the smaller social networking sites is even lower, with more than 50% of all users actively maintaining multiple profiles” (results were gathered by 2 online surveys: survey of 1,000 heads-of-Internet households in the U.S., where 402 social networking users were identified and a second survey of 2,000 Internet users in the U.S. age 13 and up where 475 myspace users were identified).
Another explanation to the recent fast growth of Facebook can be attributed to the strength of an elite brand opens up to the public. While Myspace was always an open to all platform, Facebook enjoys the desirability of a network initiated by Harvard students.
Danah Boyd, a PhD candidate at Berkeley, doing research on blogging and social networking has recently published an essay where she reviews the development of each of the social networks (via: core77). Danah suggests that MySpace and Facebook are new representations of the class divide in American youth. These two social networks reflect the split between educated “good” teens to the “bad”, uneducated off stream ones. While conducting an ethnographic research on social network sites since 2003, Danah analyzed over 10,000 MySpace profiles, spent over 2000 hours surfing and observing what happens on MySpace, formally interviewed 90 teens in 7 states with a variety of different backgrounds and demographics. She uses ethnographic techniques to observe teens behavior: ride buses, hang out at fast food joints and malls, talks to parents, teachers, marketers, politicians, pastors, and technology creators. During her investigations, she was informed about the switch to facebook: teens started telling her about how they were leaving MySpace to join Facebook or joining Facebook as their first social network site.
At the end of the post you can find a short version for Danah Boyds’ observtions.
Reading Danah’s’ extensive review, I do wonder what would the future bring to the homes for the bad and the good guys. Will this West Side Story scenario not be resolved? Should there be a split between education and talents? Main stream and off stream?

Understanding the nature of social networking behavior, where users have multiple profiles it can turn out that the split will not occur between users but within users: why not put our serious parts in facebook (business profiles for example) and dedicate our dreams, talents and desires to myspace?

More research on social networks: pewinternet, iprospect

short version for Danah Boyds’ observtions:

1. Historical perspective: 2003-2007

  • When MySpace launched in 2003, it was primarily used by 20/30-somethings The bands began populating the site by early 2004 and throughout 2004, the average age slowly declined. It wasn’t until late 2004 that teens really started appearing en masse on MySpace and 2005 was the year that MySpace became the “in thing” for teens.
  • Facebook launched in 2004 as a Harvard-only site. It slowly expanded to welcome people with .edu accounts from a variety of different universities. In mid-2005, Facebook opened its doors to high school students, but it wasn’t that easy to get an account because you needed to be invited. As a result, those who were in college tended to invite those high school students that they liked. Facebook was strongly framed as the “cool” thing that college students did. So, if you want to go to college (and particularly a top college), you wanted to get on Facebook badly. Even before high school networks were possible, the moment seniors were accepted to a college, they started hounding the college sysadmins for their .edu account. The message was clear: college was about Facebook.
  • For all of 2005 and most of 2006, MySpace was the cool thing for high school teens and Facebook was the cool thing for college students. This is not to say that MySpace was solely high school or Facebook solely college, but there was a dominating age division that played out in the cultural sphere.
  • When Facebook opened to everyone last September, it became relatively easy for any high school student to join (and then they simply had to get permission to join their high school network).

2. Observations: socio-economic divisions

  • “good” kids are now going to Facebook: These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.
  • MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

switching to Facebook?

  • For the hegemonic teens in the midwest, there wasn’t a MySpace to switch from so the “switch” is happening much faster. None of the teens are really switching from Facebook to MySpace, although there are some hegemonic teens who choose to check out MySpace to see what happens there even though their friends are mostly on Facebook. Most teens who exclusively use Facebook are familiar with and have an opinion about MySpace. These teens are very aware of MySpace and they often have a negative opinion about it. They see it as gaudy, immature, and “so middle school.” They prefer the “clean” look of Facebook, noting that it is more mature and that MySpace is “so lame.”
  • Teens from poorer backgrounds who are on MySpace are less likely to know people who go to universities. They are more likely to know people who are older than them, but most of their older friends, cousins, and co-workers are on MySpace. It’s the cool working class thing and it’s the dominant SNS at community colleges. These teens are more likely to be interested in activities like shows and clubs and they find out about them through MySpace. The subaltern teens who are better identified as “outsiders” in a hegemonic community tend to be very aware of Facebook. Their choice to use MySpace instead of Facebook is a rejection of the hegemonic values (and a lack of desire to hang out with the preps and jocks even online).
  • Class divisions in military use
    A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. Danah suggest that the  division in the military reflects the division found in high schools. Soldiers are on MySpace; officers are on Facebook. Facebook is extremely popular in the military, but it’s not the SNS of choice for 18-year old soldiers, a group that is primarily from poorer, less educated communities. They are using MySpace. The officers, many of whom have already received college training, are using Facebook. The military ban appears to replicate the class divisions that exist throughout the military.

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The “unfriend” Social Cycle: Social Networks Behavior Patterns

November 18th, 2009 by and


The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen ‘unfriend’ as its word of the year. To ‘unfriend’ means to remove someone from your friend list on a social network like Facebook or MySpace (and we extend that to a similar pattern of “unfollow”  in Twitter). “Defriend” came in as a  close rival, but unfriend takes it one step further by employing a more active and abnormal “verb sense” of the word ‘friend.’

Earlier we had stated some of the facts on Social networks:

  • An average Facebook user has 120 friend. In general he/she general trades emails or responds to the postings of only 7 closets friends. The actual number of individuals that represents his social “core network” with whom individuals “can discuss important matters”, numbers only 3 for Americans (more here).
  • Unfriending is not uncool. Success of Burger Kings Whooper application brought some evidences to the fact that its not a cardinal sin to exchange your 10 Facebook friends for a free Burger-King whooper. Within a week after its launch 82,000 people bartered over 230,000 friendships on Facebook for a whopper, till Facebook banned the app on its platform.

Read Write Web debated on that choice:

Richard MacManus thinks it’s an odd choice:

“I think that’s an odd choice for word of the year, as all the trends indicate there has been more social networking activity this past year – not less, as ‘unfriend’ implies. Facebook and Twitter have both rocketed in popularity in 2009. I’d suggest that more people have left MySpace and migrated to Facebook, than unfriended people on Facebook”.

Marshall Kirkpatrick claims:

” “unfriend” is a very appropriate word for the year as it fits with the way people are becoming more sophisticated in their social networking. People are deciding to do some editing of the friends lists they rushed naively into”.

Marshall also points to the fact that seven out of the top ten searches performed on the Facebook Help Center page are about getting rid of your own social network profiles or deleting your friends.

Our take :

Unfriend (as well as Defriend) as WOTY simply shows just how deeply social networks have infiltrated our lives. As we continue to embrace living in a highly connected digital world, we also learn to how to manage and take control of it.

In the current social – digital cycle –  people still extend the number of people they are in contact with. The average number of friends users have in Facebook is still growing (120 reported  March 2009 < 130 reported today). While the tendency to accept friendship is still a social norm in social networks – people became overwhelmed by the number of interactions they are exposed to. This brought to the unfriend behavior. We believe that as social networks will be more mature – the number of friends will finally stabilize. The stabilization process involves more control and thus much less friendship acceptance to begin with.  The growing usage and cultural importance of ‘unfriend’ possibly indicates how social networks in the coming years will be more closed and meaningful.

And for the brands in Social media the time remains ever more challenging. With 40% of the users ‘friended’ a brand on Facebook and 25% on Twitter ,’unfriending’ implies a loss of equity.

Check out the other finalist by category.

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The Lipstick Index: 5 Ways Recession Is Changing Our Lives

April 2nd, 2009 by and

Coping with the global recession has become more of lifestyle adjustment. TrendsSpotting adds to the Lipstick Index and reports five ways recession is changing our daily lives:


Latest fad in parenting “potty training”. Parents motivation to cut back on diaper expenses – resulted in huge surge of search “ for “three day potty training” ” (see this trend emerge through Google search). Still considering sanitary trends – according to Kimberly-Clark consumers are cutting back on toilet paper,  as put by CNBC reporter Jane Well “If you have less money, you buy less food, there is less to digest, which means less…”


Cutting on appearance expenses: while women are switching from hair salons to  do-it-yourself home hair color (see search volume growth for “hair color” capturing the “Dye Jones Index), men are growing the recession beard.


We are willing to dump our cellphone contracts & pare back on “extras” such as texting and mobile web access. New Millennium Research Council study suggests  39% of the Americans cellphone subscribers are likely to cut back on wireless service if the recession deepens over the next six months. One in five cellphone users who have extra features — have actually cut back or have considered doing so in the past six months. At the same time IBISWorld points out healthy 20.1% growth on VOIP. It’s likely that within next few months you will start calling up your friends/family more frequently using Skype /Jajah.


In the books industry – Cookbook sales are up – Amazon reported double digit growth.  If you are following Trendsspotting closely, its actually the DIY trend we reported earlier. More in books – the ebook: have a look at the rising ebook searches here (anything to do with kindle?) . IDPF reports impressive 75% year on year wholesale eBook sales growth during 2008 in US. And who is reading eBooks? It’s primarily women 40- 50 years old, with a higher-than-average income and education level.


Bartering is back. Craiglists reports 100% upswing on bartering boards traffic compared to last year. U-Exchange sign up almost doubled to 54,000 within an year. And how about exchanging your 10 Facebook friends for a free Burger-King whooper? Within a week after its launch 82,000 people bartered over 230,000 friendships on Facebook for a whopper.

    Our earlier coverage on recession indicators:

More emerging recession trends:

..and in case you are a marketer planning your advertising strategy, you better check the paid report covering recession advertising campaigns:
5 Dominating advertising approachs dealing with recession.

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What’s the Plus? Giving Google Plus a second fair chance

March 29th, 2012 by

what the plus guy kawasaki
I’m used to the idea that most of the people I personally know aren’t interacting in new platforms. That has never stopped me from being among the first to try.
When Google launched Google+ I was there anticipating that Google must have done it right this time . It was more than three years ago when I suggested that Google will “pagerank” and “map” peoples influence.
The feature that attracted my attention at that time was the ability to select the people who I want to share my ideas with.
As a very private person, I keep Facebook and Twitter as professional networks only, giving up the opportunity to have any personal interactions.
Only, that never happened in Google+: My personal friends are yet to come. They are too busy networking in Facebook.
Looking at my professional connections, most of them gave Google+ a chance and kept updating for two months (most of them survived until August), while the more devoted ones continued interacting until the beginning of this year.
I can’t say that I wasn’t impressed with the success of some of my influencer contacts as +Guy Kawasaki and +Robert Scoble (1.6; 1.1 million circles respectively). They have succeeded to scale their interactions in a way that no platform enabled them so far.
Guy Kawasaki has just published a new instructional book; What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us.
As I’ve always trusted Guy’s insights, and realizing that his large number of circles enables him to see what the rest of us can’t, I’ve decided to start from the beginning, learn his recommendations, and share some practical suggestions.

8 ideas and suggestions taken from “What the Plus!” by Guy Kawasaki

1. Guy has emailed me his first advise saying-

“you should make the pictures in your Scrapbook better. They are pixelated–and I think it should be pictures, not text.”

So I did.
I’ve chosen images of mobile innovations that I’m currently researching.

2. Focus of attention

“Twitter for perspectives, Facebook for people, and Google+ for passions”.

3. Searching for people by interests:

A. “You can enter keywords that describe your interests and passions. For example, try words such as “knitting,” “photography,” “adoption,” “Notre Dame,” “Macintosh,” and “football.” A word like “adoption” is used in many contexts such as babies, pets, and new products, so the more “niche” the term, the better”.
B. “Shared-circle search. You can search for every kind of shared circle by typing in “shared a circle with you” including the quotation marks in the Google+ search bar. (Hat-tip to Mike Elgan for this idea.) This will display all the circles that people have recently shared”.

4. Searching for interesting content

A. “What’s hot.”Google compiles content that is “exemplary, interesting, and appropriate” to show you “serendipitous and diverse information.” You get to it by clicking on “What’s hot” in the left sidebar”.
B. Search with hashtags: “Search for “#” followed by the keywords that describe topics that interest you. You’ll see that Google+ autocompletes hashtags to help you discover which tags to use. When you create a hashtag search (or any other search) that you like, click on “Save this search,” and it will be saved in the left sidebar for you to access in the future”.

5. Sharing statistics:

“Google provides eye candy called Ripples to show how people have shared public posts. Click on the arrow in the upper-right corner of a post and select “View Ripples.” You’ll see a cool graphic depicting the recent and public shares of your post, including the people who did the sharing. Google+ displays the amount of sharing plotted against time underneath the circles, some stats on the people who shared it and the language they used. To use the information from Ripples- you can circle someone who shared your posts with a large number of people. You can study the Ripples of other people to see who effectively shares their posts. Then you can circle these über-sharers and try to engage them, too”.

6. Photo editing:

“The Creative Kit enables you to enhance your photo using basic techniques such as cropping, ex- posure adjustment, and color correction, as well as adding text. Google also provides thematic special effects such as hats, spiders, and ornaments during holidays such as Halloween or Christmas”.

7. Running a poll on Google+:
Guy presents a poll creation procedure:

A: Write your question, and then include text along the lines of “+1 your choice in the comments below.”
B: Share the post.
C: Add comments on the posts that are choices. Do this quickly. You don’t want anyone else to comment before you.
D: Disable comments on the post.

8. Posting on multiple services:

“If cross-posting appeals to you (it’s what I do), then you have to add functionality to your browser via Chrome extensions”. Guy uses SGPlus extention:
“Enables you to share on Google+ and have your post appear on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It will also display your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn streams inside your Google+ stream.”

(Note that there isn’t a way to share from Facebook or Twitter to Google+.)

My Conclusions:

1. “Whats the Plus” is a great practical resource for first time users: it helps you increase your circles of people and interests. It meets users once again as it helps them manage their network and gain more meaningful interactions.

2. Was I persuaded?
I have decided to give Google+ another try.
Reading Guy’s book and further researching its potential, I’ve found myself writing to the social media manager of a leading tech university whom I conduct research for and advise on social media strategy – that we should re-discuss the potential of Google+ and create a stage to engage with their research professors (who we currently miss completely in other platforms). Private oriented professionals seem to find in Google plus some peace.

So maybe Google+ does hold a future as an updated social version of “Google groups” for those who share similar passions?

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2011 Influencers Predictions

July 8th, 2011 by

2011 Trends Predictions

TrendsSpotting Market Research has completed the release of the 4th annual report – THE NEW NEXT 2011, following major digital trends. In this series we have featured the predictions of digital and marketing experts on the big changes awaiting us in the coming year. We have followed major trends in three of the most promising categories to dominate the web this year: Social media, Tech and Mobile.

By adopting the “tweet style” format (limited to 140 characters), we were able to provide our readers with a more focused image of the predicted trends.

What we have learned from working with different consumer domains is that one consumer behavior can develop into another behavior. People are looking for ways to display these behaviors. Technologies offer them such solutions.

Influenced by consumer preferences as well as by external circumstances, new industries are opening up to answer consumer needs. We are interested in finding out how such future developments may unfold next year.

To predict 2011 TrendsSpotting is using a unique forecasting model based on four fundamental roots:

The CTBI Prediction Model

1. Consumers behaviors and needs

2. Technologies: What platforms / devices will enable such behaviors?

3. Business Strategies Business challenges and opportunities

4. Industry Outlook: What new markets will be most influenced by these new behaviors? (mobile, games, video, online shopping, advertising etc.)

The New Next – Cross Dominating Trends for 2011:

Reviewing the predicted trends across the different categories, 2011 will be a year in which consumers will exchange recommendations (friends and followers) and make use of their social influence to empower public matters. For that they will require not only a public platform (as Facebook) but also a more private and local stage to insure authentic conversations (Google+?). Consumers will be willing to experiment with many devices and screens as well as a wide range of mobile consumer activities (messaging, recommendations, checkins and couponing). For purely entertainment, we will see more people playing games and using TV entertainment online.

Consumers will be testing new technologies as LBS, NFC, AR, sensory and kinetic devices to enrich their experiences.

We will see many industries come to flourish, among them are: advertising, travel, banking and of course – the online / mobile shopping players. Taking advantage of “connected devices and objects” (“the internet of things”) traditional industries as health, automobile and public / private safety will develop new businesses to be implemented starting this year.

About TrendsSpotting’s Prediction Reports

TrendsSpotting is busy providing trend predictions and market analysis all year long. At the end of the year, we try to reward our readers by providing them with focused insights and multi-perspective trends to follow, in a nicely designed package.
You can refer to our previous entries in the series: TrendsSpotting’s Influencers 2010, 2009, 2008 .

If you are interested in updated reports capturing trends in your markets and tracing new opportunities, you are welcome to contact us

Presented here are the three presentation reports.


Dr. Taly Weiss and The TrendsSpotting Team.

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5 predictions for socio-location recommendation behavior

September 10th, 2010 by

Google (and Yahoo) brought opportunities to the online retail. Location Based Services will bring promising opportunities to offline shopping.

Much has been said about recommendation sites and smart engines as Pandora, Netflix, Amazon and Google.
Looking back at the last ten years – recommendation engines started with item comparison. Personalized engines were then developed and offered suggestions (predictions) based on users past behavior, claimed preferences, or computer pre-defined identification systems.

When social parameters were added – users were exposed to other decisions made by anonymous shoppers (or popular search results).

Today, when social interactions are mainstream, and technology (smartphones adoption continue to rise ) enables location based services, we get new dimensions added to the equation.

According to the Social Comparison Theory people are especially prone to compare themselves to people they view as similar to them. Research has also shown a strong link between social comparison and peer communication about consumption.
Given a location system added to the social knowledge – users are exposed to practical and immediate choices.
Having a direct knowledge on friends buying decisions in times relevant to decision making will certainly influence decision making process. Acknowledging that, Facebook has established Places.

What will social networks and location based recommendations add to this eco-system of recommendation sites?

Following the entrance of location based networks as Foursquare and Gowalla, we have prepared a list of predictions and highlights for future research:

Prediction 1.
Multiple based recommendations might bring to consumer confusion:
Issues to be tested:
1. Will people be able to differentiate between location based recommendation (just because you are here) to a different recommendation type (their pass behavior for instance)?
2. Will people want to learn how to differentiate between parameters which influence their decision?
3. Assuming this given choice – will people really put efforts to chose their preferred recommendation parameter in real time?

Prediction 2:
Location will improve personal voting behavior if it will be connected to real benefits.
Issues to be tested:
What benefits will influence personal voting behavior? (checkout discounts, product giveaways etc) and what will be the preferred form of benefits (first to come, coupons, accumulate loyalty ..)

Prediction 3:
Social presence (quantity: amount of friends / people) will count as quality.
To be tested:

1. Assuming many of ones friends visited a place or purchased a product – would this replace reading their reviews?
2. Are all friends come equal? Will people differentiate between friends (work friends. network friends) as the reliable source of influence?

Prediction 4:
Offline offerings will be more dominant than online offerings with LBS entering the decision making process:

Entertainment (restaurants and bars, events) and offerings made by physical stores will lead the local revolution.
Issues to be tested:
What offline industry sectors will better fit the local recommendation behavior (entertainment? fashion? electronics?)

Prediction 5:
With LBS, local cultures will define consumer behavior.

Consumer learning will shift from demographics (traditional behavior) and digital networking (global influence) to local communities.

To learn more on experimental marketing activities of brands using socio-location  incentives- follow the reviews made by Click, Read Write Web and ABI Research.

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