Social Media – the power of collective thought

For most people as well as companies, a huge amount of effort goes into managing a so called “online presence”. From the social side, users of Facebook like to keep in touch with their friends/family. Companies are out there trying to get the word out about new products or services and trying to get the discussion going between them and their potential customers. However the capabilities of social media do not stop there and in fact could cause a huge change in how companies conduct business.

I was reading an article on the train one morning about Twitter and something came of interest. Now there is a whole load of topics that get discussed in that system, ranging from the mundane like what people are eating, to new music, products and more. This particular article was about using these conversations, or “tweets” to determine facts and figures in the film industry. The algorithm created was designed to guess how much the box-office would take for a given film; I wont bore you with the details, look at the article instead here. Long story short, they managed to get figures amazingly close to the actual box-office takings.

With the UK elections coming up, there is a lot of discussion about using a similar system to try and predict the results of the election. Unfortunately, and from yet another article, political parties currently seem incapable of using the internet to its full potential to put the word out there and gauge public opinion. Maybe something they should look into this the next time around.

Twitter have been discussing the idea of putting out paid ads, or “promoted tweets” as they are calling it. Now there is the problem of how to charge for these “promoted tweets” and up until now, most internet advertising has been done on a pay-per-click or the slightly obsolete pay-per-view. Twitter it seems is going to be tapping into the Collective-Thought pool to determine the success of these ads and then calculate the appropriate cost due. Some companies may not be ready for the “pay-per-resonance” method of charging but I believe it is just as powerful, if not more so than the popular pay-per-click. Also at the same time, a company would be getting feedback about what makes their advert good or bad and could adjust accordingly. Web 3.0, lets utilise the power!

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