Social has the power to reveal opportunities we didn’t know where there, needs we didn’t know consumers had, features we didn’t know anyone wanted. Consumers can tell now us exactly what’s right and what’s wrong. And we can analyze these conversations until trends emerge.

These articles discuss trends I’m seeing recently – the power of social data, especially visualized data, and the rising backlash against inauthentic, non-conversational brand pages on Facebook. I curate articles I find interesting biweekly, and you can share articles with me on Twitter at @erinclaire and @Bazaarvoice.

How Finding “Exceptions” Can Jump Start Your Social Initiative
John Hagel (Deloitte), interviewed by David Kiron for MITSloan Management Review

“One thing that’s really undervalued in discussions of social technology and social business is the opportunity to make the invisible visible; to see patterns of activity and interactions that you never knew were occurring,” says John. Couldn’t agree more. Social data is the missing piece for marketers and other decision makers – we’ve always known what, we never knew why. Now we can. The key is integrating social across the enterprise so it fuels decisions and change.

Big data? I’d settle for any data at all
by Dylan Tweney for VentureBeat

A shocking (and as Dylan puts it, “embarrassing”) number of business decisions today are made without any data to back up assumptions. We’ve been taking shots in the dark for decades – and even now, when light is available, many decision makers aren’t bothering to flip on the switch. Everyone wants to talk about “big data,” but most companies would be better off with any kind of data than they are today. Loving this train of thinking, because social data of any size has the ability to transform the way we make decisions. Any data is better than no data, and the more, the better.

Of kitchens, kittens, and Khrushchev
Published on Fathom

I keep finding articles on the effectiveness of visual content. Infographics allow us to consume millions of pieces of data so simply. This graphic by Fathom illustrates 120 years of General Electric annual report history in one big, easily-digestible picture. It clearly reveals a fascinating history beyond GE, reflecting the interests and concerns of the nation as a whole – depressions, wars, energy crises, the space race, the digital boom. Beautiful work.

Financial Times on Facebook and the “Condescending Corporate Brand Page”
by Paul Marsden for Social Commerce Today

Humor and satire can often be so much more persuasive than flat opinion. A new Facebook page, the “Condescending Corporate Brand Page,” pokes fun at the brand pages that “engage” fans with meaningless generic statements, Like-gating, etc. “LIKE this photo if you’re excited for Labor Day!” Yawn. Paul’s term for these brands is “engagement monkeys.” While I might not be so… harsh… I understand his frustration. If brands want real engagement on social networks, they must recognize that social is a conversation. Give consumers something worth talking about, listen to them, and respond/act. The original Financial Times article is here if you have a subscription.

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