What will the so called respondents think when they find out their personal commentsare being used for commercial use?Is it really ethnography? Or have we crossed the line from observation to invasion?Some argue that if the internet becomes open source, then we’re just usinginformation that’s publicly available. And don’t bloggers want their voice heard? Isn’tthat the whole point?If this is where we’re heading as an industry, there’s some serious ethical guidelines weneed to consider. Not only would semantic web change how we work, but also theskills we would need to stay ahead in the industry.It could affect the way we approach training, the way we recruit, the kind of peoplethat end up in market research.It could mean an entire transformation from this, to this. Only time will tell.Works citedCitations1. 2 Radar Networks & Nova Spivack, 2007. Semantics of Social Connections. Retrieved 1 August 2009 from http://novaspivack.typepad.com RadarNetworksTowardsAWebOS.jpg3. 5. 6 Wikipedia. You Tube. Retrieved 2 August 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_tube4. Wikipedia. Semantic Web. Retrieved 2 August 2009 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seman tic_web.jpg18.104.22.168 Markoff, John. (2006, Nov 12). Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/12/business/12web.html
Is our industry about to undergo the most radical change it’s ever seen? Has the research industry already missed the boat? There’s some players in theAre we heading to an era where we will no longer need to ask anyone any questions? market who are embracing this already, and they’re people you probably wouldn’tLet’s take a look. think of as researchers. Whilst their plans for 3.0 aren’t only about research, they’ve already started working in our industry.Research has come a long way over the years.And today we think we’re pretty IBM have used the data mining “system to do market research for televisionsophisticated in our online use. networks in the popularity of shows by mining a popular online community site.” (8) (1) What’s more impressive, is their use of the “system to mine the buzz on college websites to predict songs that would hit the top of the pop charts in the next twoBut we’re heading in to the unknown. A place weeks. A capability more impressive than today’s market research predictions.” (9)that could make 2.0 look as high tech as thefax machine. A place dubbed “semantic web”. There’s a range of technology companies that are developing software for this new era. (2) Interestingly, some of the early research in this area was originally commissioned by intelligence and military agencies. (10). And it makes sense, after all they are the mas-In its essence, semantic web is made up of two dimensions. It leverages the wealth of ters of collecting, observing, collating information and making importantdata available online, with the increasingly sophisticated thinking power of computers. decisions based on it.We are generating more and more data online, at an outstanding rate. We upload data, If research is to take on this direction then perhaps we should be thinking more like CIAwe blog, we share, we connect, we co-create, we upload some more, we Google, we agents than researchers?wiki, we meet people, we upload “more than 13 hours of footage to You Tube everyminute.” (3). We have reached a point where the WWW now “contains at least 48 billion It would require a 180 degree shift in thinking and change the entire way we go aboutpages.” (4) our work. We wouldnt need to ask behavioural questions, they’d already be out there. We wouldn’t need to ask people what they think of our brand, they would have dis-At the moment, we can only do simple tasks on the web, like order a pizza, check the cussed it already.weather in Paris and book a holiday. Currently web pages “are designed to be read bypeople, not machines.” (5). We search for keywords and we get pages that contain those We would need to shift our perception of what’s available online. Seeing it as a robust,words, some of which are entirely irrelevant. credible and logical dataset, and then use the semantic ability of search engines to delve in to it.Computers are increasing their semantic ability. Meaning they will be able to gather andstructure information in a more intelligent way. A focus on ‘citizen insights’ would mean a huge change in our relationship with respondents. There would be no more focus on trying to enhance them withWith semantic web computers won’t just blindly retrieve information, they will sweeteners like cash incentives, points and games. There would be no directunderstand more of the meaning behind web pages, so they will “perform more of the interaction with respondents, so it could mean our incentive costs drop right down to atedious work involved in finding, sharing and combining information on the web.” (6). big fat zero.Which for research could mean we no longer need to ask questions, because theanswers are already out there.