Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time.
I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.
There is a really lively discussion going on in FaceBook about the boundaries of the term Qualitative research. The discussion has had contributions from India, Norway, China, New Zealand, France, Singapore, and the UK so far.
If you want to read the discussion you will need to join FaceBook, click here to go to the discussion. Note, if you want to post your view you will also need to join the Qualitative Group.
TechCrunch reports that FaceBook is tweaking its product to make it more interesting and useful to business networkers. The changes include friend groups, to allow different profiles to be shown to different groups, and adding 'networking' to the list of things that people were looking for.
In addition FaceBook's openness to third-party applications (there are over 5,000 of them), leaves the door open to further business focused enhancements.
O'Reilly Radar has a post promoting their new FaceBook report (US$149). I am sure that the report is great, but I am happy with the headline information in the post. The article refers to the more than 5000 applications that are available for FaceBook, but points out that 87% of usage is accounted for by just 84 of the applications. Only 45 applications have more than 100,000 users.
The chat below, from the post, shows the number of active users for the top 200 developers, look how sharply the curve drops.
This type of long tail is very different to Chris Anderson's Long Tail. In Anderson's Long Tail a company can make money from the tail because it has many, many items in the tail. In this chart a company has just one option in the long tail. The only company benefiting from this tail is FaceBook.
FaceBook as a meeting, and perhaps mumbling, place for market researchers is one of the main research phenomena of 2007. Where will it all lead, is it a fad, or will it change the way researchers relate to each other?
One of the latest phenomena is the rise of user groups such as the Confirmit User Group and the SSI User Group. A the moment these groups all seem very civilised, but will they grow teeth? Will they become agents for change, or will they be place to swap gripes and exchange pokes?
Those of you who use FaceBook will notice that FaceBook has started announcing that profiles are going to be more accessible to the wider web. By the time Google can search FaceBook, many professsional people will find their FaceBook profile will rank higher than their commercial presence, colliding the public and private sides of our life like never before. Yes, people can opt out of this wider world, but will they?
Jeremiah Owyang has an interesting post on this topic, and an even more interesting string of comments attached to it.
Brand Republic have published an article by me asking whether FaceBook is going to change the world of market research, check out the reference to an 18th Century French inventor. I won't give the whole story away, but surprise, surprise, I think the world is changing.
The BBC reports that the bank, HSBC, has made a u-turn on its plans to charge UK students interest on their loans when they graduate. HSBC had planned to introduce a 9.9% interest rate on overdrafts for students graduating this summer (up from its previous rate of 0.0%).
When HSBC first made its announcement, students and the NUS (the National Union of Students) protested that the loans had been taken out by people who had joined the HSBC bank believing that there student-type interest free loans would tide them over between graduating and getting a full-time job, and they mounted a campaign to change HSBC’s mind. But the protest was going nowhere.
To HSBC’s credit, once they saw the way the wind was shifting they moved quickly. The bank has scrapped its plans for interest rates on graduate loans of up to £1500 and says “It is not too big to listen”.
If HSBC really learns the Web 2.0 lesson it could be a very valuable lesson.
Blue Whale Labs have put a really useful presentation on SlideShare, which outlines the recent success of FaceBook and provides useful information about FaceBook applications, a facility that was only launched in May 2007.
Richard Scoble has a post, with links to other posts as his videos, that looks at the issue of whether the term and indeed the nature of friendship is being devalued by social networks, such as FaceBook. Traditionally a friend is somebody you know, you trust, and who has shared experiences with you.
In FaceBook the term friend is bandied around with abandon, some people accept every offer of friendship, whilst others try to mimic their 'conventional' friendships.