Facebook, Twitter, Orkut – Are They Mere Social Networking Sites?

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All of us are on these social networking sites aren’t we? In fact in today’s world a person who is not on these social networking sites is not at all alive! People come on these sites for so many reasons. Some come there because their friends have joined these sites, some come there because they feel the need for affiliation, and some join because they want to increase contacts.

But off late, a new trend has started. One can find companies as well on these sites. Well what could be the reason? The answer to such a simple question is a little complicated. They come there for brand promotion, well this is pretty obvious and is implied. But how many people out there know that it is also becoming a source of new product development and market research! Social networking sites have slowly evolved from branding and promotion tools to market research based tools. Facebook is a famous social networking site which has recently added this new tool that allows you to ask questions through polls. Now these are very clear cut market research tools that can be used for new product development and to understand what their customers want!

People are talking about stuff all the time. Be it blogs, social networking sites and a number of other places. Yes, I agree, there are many blogs and websites where people are paid to write about, but there are genuine people as well. The future of market research lies in developing web market research tools. Either, positive stuff or negative stuff, people are thinking, tweeting, posting every second.

Tools are being developed in these spheres that are capable of identifying these “keywords” and then looking at the entire sentence and interpreting the sentences to give a sense of the sentiments the speaker or say tweeter has about it. A major branch of computer science, natural language processing, has been dedicated for understanding the interactions between computers and human languages. Though natural language processing is currently more concentrated in the fields of robotics and allied subjects, but it is slowly being used in the application of developing business intelligence tools and data mining. Numerous web analytic tools are available nowadays on the internet.

There are some that give real time information along with demographic segmentation to some extent, with around 80% accuracy. There are some companies which have started to use social networking sites as a tool to have e-commerce webpage where in you can buy and sell stuff through these sites.

The time has come, now the social networking sites are not mere socializing tools with friends and colleagues, they have become mammoth tools for companies to try and SOCIALIZE with their potential and current customers and make big bucks out of it!

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