Social Media Analytics + Filter Bubbles = Poor Market Intelligence
If you haven’t see this TED video by Eli Pariser, you may be trapped in a bubble of your own creation. Pariser’s talk on Filter Bubbles focuses mainly on consumers. The implications are frightening for what it means about the quality of debate and progress we make as a society.
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Here’s a brief description of a filter bubble. Remember you all used to watch THE news? Well now you only watch YOUR news. This also has huge implications for the type of market intelligence companies are increasingly relying on. Most social media analytics platforms, due to cost and complexity issues, allow their client firms a very narrow view of themselves.
Take the typical Social Media Analytics business model. You are charged based on the number of results returned by your query. New customers routinely report blowing their entire monthly quota in the first run of data. The result is predictable—the service credits you the results you’ve overspent and helps you narrow your terms to an acceptable level of cost. Now you have both predictable costs and predictable outcomes. It mimics the age old joke of finding a drunk man searching madly under a street light.
“What are you looking for?”
“My contact. It fell out across the street.”
“Why are you looking here?”
“The light is better!”
Clients are becoming like the drunk—trapped in the logic of the filter bubble and doomed to search for new things in places they’ve already illuminated rather than preserving the agility required to discover and react to rapidly-changing market dynamics. Watching these firms rely on such narrow views of the competitive landscape is like watching a teen horror movie…clueless teenagers walk into the darkest old mansion without a flash light after their peers have been slaughtered by the grindhouse of consumer market dynamics.
How are the economics of your market intelligence sources impacting your world view? Are you trapped in a filter bubble? How long till the air runs out?