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Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?
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Will Twitter change the way that market researchers communicate?

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Most conference papers and presentations tend to focus on one of the following: users/buyers of products and services, brands, or methodology. This paper, by contrast, looks at market researchers …

Most conference papers and presentations tend to focus on one of the following: users/buyers of products and services, brands, or methodology. This paper, by contrast, looks at market researchers themselves and asks whether social media in general and Twitter in particular are changing the way that researchers communicate with each other. The paper is complemented by an interactive event held at the ESOMAR APAC Conference in Bangkok (April 2010).
The paper starts by providing some background information on Twitter, before moving on to explore the
ways that market researchers are beginning to utilise Twitter, both as medium for research and as a method of opening up new and exciting channels (and back-channels) amongst researchers.
The paper includes four in-depth reviews of the impact of Twitter in Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. Finally, the paper draws the threads together in an overall summary and list of key
recommendations.

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  • 1. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH WILL TWITTER CHANGE THE WAY THAT MARKET RESEARCHERS COMMUNICATE? Ray Poynter Shizue Vieira Daniel Alexander-Head Amber Coulter Bill Zuo Angela Gao INTRODUCTION Most conference papers and presentations tend to focus on one of the following: users/buyers of products and services, brands, or methodology. This paper, by contrast, looks at market researchers themselves and asks whether social media in general and Twitter in particular are changing the way that researchers communicate with each other. The paper is complemented by an interactive event held at the ESOMAR APAC Conference in Bangkok (April 2010). The paper starts by providing some background information on Twitter, before moving on to explore the ways that market researchers are beginning to utilise Twitter, both as medium for research and as a method of opening up new and exciting channels (and back-channels) amongst researchers. The paper includes four in-depth reviews of the impact of Twitter in Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. Finally, the paper draws the threads together in an overall summary and list of key recommendations. TWITTER? Twitter is usually described as an example of microblogging, but in most English-speaking countries that definition is almost back to front, i.e. microblogging is probably best described as being Twitter! This is because the other microblogging platforms, such as Tumblr and Plurk, have far fewer users and a much lower profile than Twitter. It has been suggested that most people who use Twitter would not know that it is technically referred to as a microblogging service (Poynter, 2010). The term “microblogging” relates to the way that Twitter users post short updates of up to 140 characters (in response to the prompt ‘What’s happening?’), which are stored in chronological order in their account, just like in an ordinary blog. However, these posts, or tweets as Twitter calls them, are also broadcast to Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 1
  • 2. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH everybody who has chosen to follow that person. The tweets are also capable of being searched in a variety of ways, for example by content. In order to be able to post tweets, or to reply to them, it is necessary to join Twitter. However, non- members can search and query the Twitter database. One of the reasons for the interest in Twitter is that it is currently one of the fastest growing global communication/networking services, although with very different patterns of adoption in different countries. Although Twitter was only launched in 2006, by November 2009 it had, according to Alexa.com, become the world’s 15th most visited website, and by February 2010 the 12th most visited. Although Alexa ranks Twitter as 12th most visited site globally, this is well behind Chinese social network qq.com and Facebook. Alexa ranks Facebook as the second most visited site globally, with just Google.com ahead of it). In February 2010, Econsultancy.com reported that Twitter had about 75 million accounts, with 15 million being classed as active. By contrast Facebook was reported as having over 350 million members with about 50% logging on every day! Econsultancy.com also reported that globally there are over one million tweets per hour. At the end of 2009 Twitter was much bigger in the English speaking world than in the rest of the world, and was actively blocked in some countries, particularly those who try to repress dissent. Celebrities Twitter has attracted a large amount of media attention, which is partly because of the well known people who tweet, such as Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Fry. It should be noted that most people who use Twitter use it to follow people, rather than to create their own stream of news, views, and thoughts. Examples of people using Twitter from outside the world of market research are: • Guy Kawasaki, http://twitter.com/GuyKawasaki, Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist and IT industry pundit. He uses Twitter to keep people in touch with what he is doing and to market some of his ideas. • Kevin Rudd, http://twitter.com/KevinRuddPM, Kevin Rudd is the Prime Minister of Australia and uses Twitter to provide a window into his personal and family life and also to highlight things he has done politically. • Ashton Kutcher, http://twitter.com/APlusK, actor Ashton Kutcher has over four million followers (acquired within just eleven months), and is a leading example of a celebrity tweeter. Twitter is also a social network, although it has the unusual feature in that its ‘friend’ relationships are not reciprocal relationships. For example, just because I might choose to follow Stephen Fry does not mean that Stephen Fry will necessarily choose to follow me. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 2
  • 3. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH Researchers using Twitter If a user goes to Twitter.com and enters #esomar or #amsrs into the search field (the hashtags associated with ESOMAR and the Australian Social and Market Research Society) they will see that some market researchers are already making extensive use of Twitter to change the way that they communicate with each other. These changes are impacting the way some researchers follow news and gossip, the way that some researchers attend conferences, and the way that some researchers link to, and benefit from, conferences they can’t attend. Examples of market researchers who are making extensive use of market research are: • Kathryn Korostoff, http://twitter.com/ResearchRocks, Kathryn is based in the USA is the founder of Research Rockstar. • Tom Ewing, http://twitter.com/tomewing, Tom is in the UK and has a well informed and dry perspective on social media and its interaction with market research. • Brian LoCicero, http://twitter.com/duey23, Brian is a US-based Kantar employee, mixes his tweets between market research and sport. • Tom De Ruyck, http://twitter.com/tomderuyck, Tom is part of the exciting Belgian agency Insites Consulting and brings a very fresh approach to research. • ZebraBites, http://twitter.com/ZebraBites, Katie is a market researcher based in Australia whose tweets combine market research, networking, and general chatter. • Reg Baker, http://twitter.com/thesurveygeek, US-based Reg is very well informed and very dry in his humour. • Jeffrey Henning, http://twitter.com/jhenning, Jeffrey is based in the US and is perhaps the most vociferous blogger in research circles. • Ray Poynter, http://twitter.com/raypoynter, the tweets of one of the authors of this paper. The key elements of Twitter There are a number of activities that have become central to the way that Twitter is used. The key ones are: • Tweeting • Following • Retweeting • Direct Messages • Hashtags • Third-party Applications • Searching Twitter • Back channel • Tweetups • Tweetferences Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 3
  • 4. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH These topics are briefly reviewed in the sections below. Tweeting Members of Twitter post comments, limited to 140 characters, in response to a prompt ‘What’s happening?’. These posts are referred to as Tweets. Following Following is the way that Twitter members connect, so following is the Twitter equivalent of being a friend or a contact. One feature that makes Twitter unusual is the asymmetric nature of its connections. If A follows B, it does not mean that B will follow A. If A follows B, then B’s posts are normally transmitted to B, which is how information flows through Twitter, through eccentric circles of followers (using the term eccentric in its geometric sense of circles whose centres are in different places). Retweeting Retweeting is one of the ways that key ideas, comments, or links expand beyond one group of people and into the wider network of Twitter. When a member receives a tweet they think is worth passing on they ‘retweet’ it and it thereby passes on to all the people who follow the person retweeting. The more an idea is of interest, the more it is retweeted and the further it reaches, a classic expression of the meme concept. Direct messages A direct message is a private message from one Twitter user to another, without other users being able to see or search for it. Direct messages are a symptom of the death of email, with growing numbers of people moving towards messages rather than more formal email. Hashtags Hashtags are a method of grouping tweets together. For example, people tweeting topics related to ESOMAR often include the hashtag #esomar. This allows users to specify #esomar in a search or a filter to see all the posts on that topic, including tweets from people to whom the person searching is not connected. Amongst common market research hashtags are #mr and #marketresearch. Third-party applications Because the Twitter database is relatively open, and because Twitter is so popular, there are a large number of third-party applications, which extend the functionality provided by Twitter. These third-party applications extend the search options, the ability to analyse tweets, and review the connections between people. Searching Twitter There are a wide range of tools available to search Twitter, including Twitter’s own search [http://search.twitter.com/]. Twitter search allows tweets to be filtered by text in the post, geographic location, language, and hashtags, making the search very powerful. Back channels A back channel is an alternative stream of information. The Twitter backchannel is a collection of tweets on a subject, usually organised via a hashtag, used to provide an alternative flow of information. For example, during a TV show, viewers’ tweets about the show and the issues raised by it may create a backchannel of information, quite separate from the official channel. At a conference the discussions taking place on Twitter about the conference are a back channel. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 4
  • 5. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH Tweetups A tweetup is a meeting or event organised via Twitter. These events can be created directly within Twitter but they are often created using a third-party service such as Twtvite [http://twtvite.com/]. Market researchers have started creating tweetups around larger events such as conferences. Although these tend to be fun events at the moment, tweetups are another example of the way that the power structures in companies are changing Tweetferences A tweetference is method of using Twitter to extend the reach and impact of a conference. The proponents of tweetferences describe them as an enhancement and an extension of a conference. In a typical case, a tweetference is organised by Twitter-using attendees, for example by choosing a specific hashtag to organise the tweets around. For example, the ESOMAR Online Conference in 2009 had the hashtag #esoc associated with it. Typical elements of a tweetference include: • Tweets before, during, and after the actual conference. • Tweeting during presentations, including posting photos taken during the session. • Non-attendees following the tweets, and posting their own comments and questions. • A tweetwall showing the flow of tweets, sometimes shown in a separate room, sometimes in the same room as the presentations. • Tweetups are often arranged to extend the reach of the tweetference beyond just the delegates. Twitter’s impact on the world Celebrity events tend to be prone to being picked up and accelerated by Twitter. This is particularly true of deaths, such as that of Michael Jackson. More recently the death of Brittany Murphy was picked up by Twitter and top tweeting actor Ashton Kutcher, and ex-boyfriend of Murphy, was quick to tweet his condolences. During June 2009, the US government contacted Twitter and asked it to delay some routine maintenance that was being planned. The reason was that the US government had noticed that Iranian protesters were using Twitter to circulate information about their protests. Different uses and social graphs The social graph is a phrase commonly used, but which is somewhat harder to define. Brad Fitzpatrick (2007) suggested “What I mean by "social graph" is the global mapping of everybody and how they're related’. Studying the social graph includes studying the way people in social networks are connected, how messages propagate, and how new connections are made. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 5
  • 6. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH One approach to the Twitter social graph is given by analysis system Twitalyzer, which makes the following definitions: • Generosity: the percentage of a person’s updates which are retweets of somebody else. • Clout: which relates to how likely somebody’s name is to appear in a search. • Engagement: the ratio between how often a user refers to other people to how often that user is referred to by others. • Impact: which combines the number of followers, references, citations, and the frequency of posts. Other approaches include projects such as Guy Kawasaki’s ‘six Twitter types’ (Kawasaki, 2009), where Kawasaki identifies that most users of Twitter fall into one of the following six categories: • The newbies, people new to Twitter and who tend to be associated with the ‘watching the cat roll over’ type of post. • Brands, using Twitter to promote the brand and trying to not quite over-step the mark into boring promotion. • Smores, people promoting themselves, relentlessly. • Bitches, people who like to complain. • Mavens, people who are interested in a niche, and who love learning new stuff and sharing stuff they know. • Mensch, people who like helping people, Kawasaki suggests there are relatively few of this type. A key area for further investigation via the social graph is the way that memes are transmitted and the way some ideas, videos, and messages ‘go viral!’ TWITTER AS A MEDIUM FOR RESEARCH Although there are a few market research initiatives to use Twitter as a method of conducting surveys, most of the use of Twitter as a research medium has been in the context of data mining, i.e. a listening paradigm. Compared with many other popular social media systems the Twitter database is relatively open and there are some very powerful ways of searching Twitter. For example, the searches can be easily tied to specific geographic locations. The three utilities shown below are just three amongst a growing number. • Search.Twitter • TwitScoop • TweetDeck Search.Twitter Search.Twitter [http://search.twitter.com/] is a search tool provided by Twitter itself and has some very powerful options. The parameters that can be specified in search.twitter include: • Words. Words included in the Tweets can be specified, with all the usual options of including exact phrases, words to exclude, and alternative words. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 6
  • 7. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH • Hashtags. In Twitter, hashtags are used to group together tweets on a particular topic. For example, tweets with #mr as part of the message tend to be about market research, and tweets with #followfriday as part of the message tend to nominate Twitter accounts worth following (as part of the follow Friday concept). Search.twitter allows specific hashtags to be used in the search. • Dates. Using search.twitter the user can specify a start and end date to search. • Attitudes. To a limited extent search.twitter can search by what it calls attitude. This option allows the user to request that tweets contain a smiley (☺), or a sad face ( ), or a question mark? However, most people do not use the emoticons, which makes this option less useful. • Places. Identifying location, via the place parameter, is perhaps the most powerful feature of Twitter Search. The search can specify a location, such as London, and ask for tweets that occur within a set distance of that location, for example 20 miles. TwitScoop TwitScoop [http://search.twitscoop.com/] is a third-party software tool with a range of uses, including acting as an alternative interface to Twitter. However, in terms of finding out what is happening right at that moment, it is TwitScoop’s Hot Trends feature that is most relevant to this paper. Hot Trends shows a bar across the page with all the terms that are currently becoming more popular. Clicking on one of these trends shows a frequency diagram, illustrating how interest in the term built and decayed over time and along with a tag cloud of related terms. TweetDeck TweetDeck [http://tweetdeck.com/] is a popular alternative to Twitter’s interface, adding a wide range of extra functionality. Tweetdeck is popular both on PCs and iPhones and makes it much easier to unpick the cacophony that is Twitter (and Facebook). Tweetdeck does this by allowing the user to create a number of columns, each with their own filters. For example, a user might have columns for the following items: • A column for all feeds followed. • A column for favourite feeds. • A column for a specific search term, perhaps a brand name. • A column for a specific hashtag. • A column for Facebook feeds. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 7
  • 8. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH TWITTER AS A NEW MEDIUM BETWEEN RESEARCHERS As well as being a medium for market research, social media has become a place for market researchers to network, to share ideas, to look for jobs, and simply to have fun. Some market researchers are active users of social networks and this is creating new networks of friends and knowledge groups. No two researchers are using social networks in the same way to network, however, Table 1 is a suggestion for how Twitter currently fits into the picture of market research social networks and microblogging (Poynter, 2010). TABLE 1 Researcher-to-researcher networking Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Getting in touch with old friends Alerting contacts to your thoughts and activities Organising discussion groups Organising a research event Prospecting for new contacts Looking for/advertising a job Looking for services, such as consultancy, travel, - - insurance Amongst the ways that researchers are using Twitter are: to share ideas, to follow friends and opinion leaders, to co-ordinate ideas, conferences, and topics via hashtags, for example #esomar, and to create events (called Tweetups) via tools such as Twtvite [http://twtvite.com/]. Social networks and conferences At market research conferences it is possible to observe two sorts of networking happening. The first type of networking is the traditional business card swapping sort, where strangers meet, discuss a topic, such as the presenter in the last session, and then swap cards. The social network version tends to work the other way round, first people make some sort of contact, perhaps by reading tweets or by joining in a discussion on some topic in LinkedIn, and then seek each other out at the conference. A growing number of researchers are networking via social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and especially Twitter. The second change is the growth in the interest in tweetferences, something that will be explored further, and interactively, at the ESOMAR APAC conference in Bangkok. KEY COUNTRY CONTRASTS Although Twitter is globally very popular, there are enormous differences between countries. The four country reports below illustrate some of those differences. Australia (Daniel Alexander-Head) Australia has been a quick and keen adopter of social media with 15 of the top 20 most visited sites having significant levels of web 2.0 functionality. According to the research agency Nielsen, Australia [http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/global/led-by-facebook-twitter-global-time-spent-on-social-media- sites-up-82-year-over-year/] ranked ninth globally in terms of use of Social Media, however lead the world in terms of average amount of time spent on Social Networks at nearly seven hours in December 2009. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 8
  • 9. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH A search on Alexa.com shows Twitter sits at number 12 of most visited sites, though it may actually rank higher in reality as many people do not access the site from Twitter.com but from tools such as Tweetdeck. Alexa reports Australia is the 9th most active country, comprising of 1.9% of Twitters users, however other sites [http://techcrunchies.com/countries-with-largest-number-of-twitter-users/] suggest that it is much higher at 2.9% and a world ranking of 4th after USA, UK and Canada. Twitter has been used in Australia by a variety of business, organisations and for political purposes. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is Australia’s most followed individual with over 900,000 followers. An early adopter of Social Media technologies that he leveraged to win the 2007 federal election, he and his office both tweet regularly with the latest updates ranging from general political announcements and updates to personal updates on family and even asking followers what movie he should see at the cinema. As both his office and himself tweet they sign off with different hash tag identifiers – #Krudd if himself and #KevinPM if his office – to avoid confusion with followers. Whilst the early uptake was mostly from individuals and smaller businesses, big brands have also jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Telecommunication companies have used it to assist with customer service issues. Vodafone Australia have a reputation for quick response. Telstra however received a mixed review for only offering a 9am – 5pm weekday service rather than the 24/7 service customers have come to expect. Generally financial institutions have been laggards in the social media environment. There are a few exceptions, one of which is the National Australia Bank’s baby off-shoot, Ubank. The online savings bank has adopted social media in a more holistic manner than many brands with consumer focused information and videos on their site as well Facebook pages promoting events and special offers and Twitter for more conversational purposes. Not all brands have made the transition to Twitter for conversational marketing. Hungry Jacks (Australian branded version of Burger King) uses the site solely for pushing traditional messages rather than listening and talking to customers. Consequently they only have 221 followers compared to Dominos pizza chain that has 2,627. Whilst researchers have started to move towards Twitter in Australia with some predominant individuals such as Katie Harris (@zebrabites), it is still in its infancy. The people using it for individual purposes indicate that it is an effective manner to share public information with their followers. However it is only very recently that Australian researchers have started to get onboard. At the September 2009 AMSRS National Conference there were a small percentage of the 580+ delegates participating in the Twitter conversation. By February 2010 the AMSRS Summer School demonstrated that the number had grown significantly with regular updates and conversations happening between the delegates and people outside of the event. It appears that as a research tool in Australia, it is smaller organizations and agencies that are utilizing it more than the larger firms and there is still some debate as to whether it is a viable source of information for research. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 9
  • 10. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH Adam Joseph, Readership Director at News Corp’s Sun-Herald newspaper believes that is a valid method of research if you believe that listening to actual or potential customers is market research: “…technically, it's called "observational research" and is no different in principal from eavesdropping in cafe's/bars/shops etc”. Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Managing Director of Headshift Australasia, a social business consultancy has also used Twitter as a research tool: “Our listening platform on a couple of brand monitoring projects has provided "gold" in terms of market research. From a language analysis I can determine gender, age group... all sorts of magical things!” China (Bill Zuo) Twitter did not come to China with the widespread popularity of elsewhere. However, a handful of home- grown micro-blogging sites emerged in China. The first micro-blogging site was launched on May 2007 called “Fanfou” (In Chinese it means “did you eat” which reflects peoples’ interest). QQ launched its “Taotao” (means “keep talking”) micro-blogging site on August 2007. These two are pioneers of China’s micro- blogging. Micro-blogging was flourishing in 2009, for example “Digu” (means whispering in Chinese) and Sina “Weibo” (Chinese pinyin of micro-blogging). These micro-blogging sites allow users to upload pictures and embed videos to go with their 140-character limit posts. There are several reasons for the popularity of micro-blogging in China. • The simplicity of usage. Very convenient to access through mobile phone and web. Less complicated webpage with lower technical requirement for user. Chinese micro-blogging sites can also be seamlessly updated through many of the country's popular chat services, enabling them to become a natural extension of the instant messaging culture that permeates the web. • Mobile phones are another important component of China's burgeoning micro-blog ecosystem, especially as 3G smartphones permeate the market after the government rolled out the service at the beginning of 2009. Micro-blogging can be easily bundled with a person’s mobile phone, it’s delivered/sent out via SMS or MMS quickly from one to another and spread to the entire relationship circles. • Efficient tool for buzz marketing. Micro-blogging lets people keep in touch with others through the exchange of quick, frequent answers, ideas, true emotions…it is offering a new promotional application for enterprises to connect with their consumers to amplify the promotion and micro-blogging tends to be included as a hot research topic in China on consumer behavior. • Relationship circle effect. The user can simply click a “follow” button (which means they agree to receive the updated instant message from someone either the celebrity or the friends around them). In this way, the user can build-up, maintain and strengthen the relationship circle. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 10
  • 11. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH Whilst there is no readily available data of micro-blogging user numbers in China, we can get an impression of user patterns by taking Sina micro-blogging as an example, (http://t.sina.com.cn/ ). It is the most popular micro-blogging service in China and is famous for its “celebrity effect”. With top 2000 users there are 994 (49.7%) VIP/Celebrity users, the rest 1006 (50.3%) are common users. Ms. Yao Cheng a film star has 1,015,915 followers (or fans) and is ranked #1 in Sina micro-blogging. Although the number of micro-blogging users is increasing rapidly in China, they are still a small size among all internet users (384 million - the 25th CNNIC report). Micro-blogging’s way of delivering instant messages rapidly is lacking of “auditing”. It is possible to have “negative” influence (this refers to illegal messages spread through web) and that’s a challenge for micro-blogging sites in China. There are differing views about the future of micro-blogging, some uncertainty and some people think it’s going to extend into a broader market. Japan (Shizue Vieira) Twitter came to Japan based on statistics from February 2008, in which they found that one-quarter of the world wide users were from Japan. There were a few key differences with the English and Japanese platform when it initially entered the Japanese market. The Japanese site has ads on the top right side of their page. The page displays only one ad but changes every few minutes. These ads are from companies such as Panasonic, ANA airline and products like Kleenex. In April 2009 there were 520,000 users. By August of that year the number grew to 2,000,000 users. Within a month, the numbers of users were increased to 2,600,000. On October 15th 2009, Twitter’s mobile platform was launched. 95% of Twitter users access the site through their mobile. Towards the end of 2009 there were discussions of implementing charges to users to receive certain tweets and some areas of Twitter. Twitter Japan thought this strategy could have worked because Japanese mobile and social network users are used to being charged to view certain contents. By the beginning of 2010 this idea was abandoned. One of Japan’s largest mobile phone companies, Softbank, uses Twitter as a communication tool. Mr. Song, the CEO of the company, decided to use Twitter as one of the tools to operate company discussions with all 20,000 employees. When asked about how he felt about the company’s privacy exposed to the public through Twitter, he stated that it’s more than welcome to have others see their discussions since it’s about their future vision. The Retweet button was added on January 23rd 2010 on Twitter.jp. Until then, there was no Retweet button. Japanese Twitter users copied and pasted the tweets they want to forward into their tweet box. They add “RT @username:” in front of the original tweet. This form of Retweeting has been coined as “Unofficial RT” while the new Retweet as “Official RT”. “Official RT” and “Unofficial RT” were the same at the beginning but gradually users started to use Unofficial RT differently. Since users had to manually forward the tweets by copying and pasting, some users started to add their own comments in front of the original tweet, this now known as the Unofficial RT with comments. Some users are not comfortable with using the Unofficial RT with comments as a result, they created the QT (Quote Tweet) by adding “QT Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 11
  • 12. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH @username:” in front of other’s comments to clarify a difference between unofficial RT. Twitter.com always had the Retweet icon from the beginning subsequently there are not any confusions for English users. All three ways of Retweeting: Unofficial RT, QT and RT exists within Japan and it does not seem that there will be a unified way of Retweeting any time in the near future. Through market research with FEM Marketing House a regional research was conducted on the knowledge of Twitter and its users. 29% of the panel had never heard of Twitter. While 25% had heard the name before but did not know what it does or what it is. 46% of the panel knew what Twitter was but only 32% of them are currently using Twitter and 4% used to use it. The research also found that 36% of the users have been using Twitter for three to six months. And only 14% have been using Twitter for more than six months. When asked why they use Twitter, the top three reasons were: To connect with people, it’s the trend at the moment and to receive information. Other reasons varied from, relieving stress, following celebrities and to kill time. Considering that the top reason for using Twitter is to stay connected with people, 43% did not follow anyone on Twitter. The number of people who followed less than ten people was at 40%. The numbers of unique users following more than 10 people are very low. Easy to use and being real time were the top two values with Twitter. On the other hand, “no value” came in third. Even though the number of users continues to increase in Japan, the data indicates that Japanese Twitter users do not stay as long term users. However, Twitter is becoming more exposed to the Japanese market through word of mouth, companies and the media. This could change the way Japanese people view and use Twitter. New Zealand (Amber Coulter) As with the rest of the world, social media has taken off in New Zealand in recent years with MSN’s PR agency, Talkies Group, recording 200,000 newly active social networking accounts between October 2008 (1.7 million) and February 2009 (1.9 million). This not only represents nearly two thirds of the adult population in New Zealand but indicates both that social media sites are now penetrating older age brackets in the New Zealand market, and that acceptance of social media as an everyday means of communicating is growing. Facebook is the most used social media site in New Zealand in terms of day to day communication with friends and peers, with studies reporting in 2009 that 58% of New Zealanders use Facebook, while smaller numbers are using Bebo (18%) and My Space (7%). In contrast, only 6% of New Zealanders are reported to be using Twitter, and 3% LinkedIn (scoop.co.nz) which seems to be largely driven by the fact these sites are more ‘niche’, and in the case of Twitter, not widely understood. Although user numbers are relatively low, Twitter has seen impressive growth in New Zealand in 2009. Its public profile increased as a result media exposure, such as that which surrounded ‘Twitchhiker’ Paul Smith in March 2009, as well from high profile endorsements such as Prime Minister John Key. With daily visits to Twitter increasing 305% in 2009 (Hitwise) the evidence is that the user base in New Zealand is small but highly engaged. Increasingly New Zealand businesses both big and small are using Twitter as a marketing tool. There are the likes of Giapo Gelato and the Wine Vault in central Auckland tweeting latest flavours and reviews to Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 12
  • 13. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH customers, both of whom report noticeable sales increases since doing so. Then there are larger players such as Air New Zealand and Vodafone who are going for an approach that is more about engaging their followers in a Twitter community. Focusing on the market research industry, there is certainly evidence that some social media is being used. There are companies using Facebook as a tool for reaching hard to find research participants, and many market researchers use LinkedIn to connect with others in the industry, not only as a forum for answering questions but to also to discuss the future of the profession. The use of Twitter is also slowly growing within the industry. Currently it is being taken up by some research companies and individual researchers with some companies using Twitter as a medium for supporting editorial content being written and others using it as part of their wider PR strategy. Individual market researchers are harnessing Twitter in different ways, and for many it is a tool for keeping up to date with trends, new articles and market research news. For others it is about maintaining and developing contacts and building a network of them - something that is particularly appealing for geographically isolated market researchers. However, for many in the industry, getting on Twitter is a lot about coming to terms with, and wanting to understand the technology and its potential for use in the future as a research tool. As it stands, Twitter isn’t being used as a research tool in any kind of a traditional sense. That is to say, market researchers in New Zealand are not using Twitter to connect with consumers and are instead utilising it as a tool for keeping up to date with industry trends and connecting with other market researchers. THE BANGKOK EVENT As a complement to this paper the authors are conducting a Twitter event around ESOMAR’s APAC Conference in Bangkok, including TweetUps and a Tweetference. A Tweetup is an event organised via Twitter, for example a social event in the evening, or a coffee bar meeting to discuss a hot topic. A Tweetference is an expansion of the conference concept that increases the involvement of those attending and those unable to attend. The proposed Tweetference extension to the Bangkok conference will include: • Creating a hash code to attract Twitter comments relating to the Conference (for example like the #esoc used unofficially for the ESOMAR Online Conference). • Generating a pre-conference ‘Twitter Storm’ of interest, with people expressing what they want to achieve, who they want to meet, and ideas they think need sharing. • Using TwtVite to create a number of events in and around the conference. • At the Conference, work with ESOMAR to install a Twitter Wall, a large screen showing conference related Tweets as they happen. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 13
  • 14. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH • During the conference get as many attendees as possible to Tweet and to use Twitter to post pictures. • During the Conference we will be Tweeting questions and challenges, including Twitter-based polls (of attendees and people following the conference). • On the second morning we will present the findings from the Tweetference to date, based on the pre-conference tweets and the tweets from the first day, along with some points of guidance in using Twitter for research and for networking. • After the Conference we will produce and make available a summary of the Tweetference. CONCLUSIONS AND KEY RECOMMENDATIONS The growth of interest in Twitter illustrates the hunger amongst many market researchers to network and communicate in new and exciting ways. Traditional influence was based on rank and seniority, but in a socially networked context the key people are those who share interesting points of view and those who provide assistance and insight. Twitter may prove to be a fad, but the genie is out of the bottle and the emergent patterns of behaviour on Twitter (and in Facebook and LinkedIn) show that a large number of researchers are looking to share ideas and networks across ages, countries, and cultures. It is likely that over the next few years, those researchers who are not networked via social media will start to find themselves at a disadvantage, just in the way that students who do not use the popular social network of their peer group miss out on all the best parties! KEY RECOMMENDATIONS The present is changing so fast that the future is hard to predict, but the authors consider the following to be both positive steps to increase effectiveness and risk-averse steps to avoid being left behind. • Researchers need to become skilful at monitoring social media in time-efficient ways. Of separating the chaff from the wheat, and of concentrating on the wheat (even though the chaff is often more fun). • The use of systems such as Twitter can be rewarding both as a research medium and as a method of communicating, but the researcher should be aware that whilst Twitter is a key system in 2010, it may not be in 2012. • Unless researchers want to risk being left by the wayside they need to find a method of tapping into the fast-moving zeitgeist, of keeping in touch with changes, and of being sufficiently in touch to avoid being left the boring tasks, unless those are the tasks they prefer. • Remember the old saying about technological innovation, people typically overestimate the short- term changes and underestimate the long-term changes. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 14
  • 15. ASIA PACIFIC 2010 PART 3 / INNOVATING RESEARCH POSTSCRIPT: A MARKET RESEARCHER BEGINNER”S GUIDE TO TWITTER A beginner’s guide to Twitter, targeted at market researchers, can be found at http://mrspace.ning.com/ and includes lists of people worth following and interesting hashtags, similar information can be found at www.hosmr.com (the website that accompanies the book The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research). REFERENCES Fitzpatrick, Brad, 2007. ‘Thoughts on the Social Graph’, blog post, ‘http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/’, [Accessed 2 January 2010]. Kawasaki, Guy, 2009. The Six Twitter Types. http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/the-six- twitter-types-guy-kawasaki, viewed 14 February 2010. THE AUTHORS Ray Poynter, The Future Place, United Kingdom. Daniel Alexander-Head, Colmar Brunton, Australia. Shizue Vieira, Fem Marketing House, Japan. Amber Coulter, The Research Agency, New Zealand. Bill Zuo, Survey Sampling International, China. Copyright © ESOMAR 2010 15

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