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Posted by Elise Daniel on June 17, 2009 at 10:45 am 

This article from BusinessWeek creeps me out a little bit but it is fascinating stuff, from a marketing and sociology/psychology perspective. Here’s an excerpt:

An immense new laboratory of human relations is taking shape. Millions of us are playing, working, flirting, and socializing online—and producing oceans of data. Duncan J. Watts, a Columbia University sociologist now on leave and heading a research unit at Yahoo!, marvels at the change. “When I started network research 12 years ago, we had virtually no data,” he says. Now he and his team can study the network behavior of 295 million e-mailers and legions of the 200 million Facebook users. For social scientists, Watts says, this flood of data could be as transformative as Galileo’s telescope was for the physical sciences: “It gives us a new understanding of our world and ourselves.” …

Others find value in a sizable following. Earlier this year, Jason Calacanis, founder of the search engine Mahalo, offered to pay Twitter $250,000 to put his account on a recommended list for the service’s users. He says he was “half joking” but believes the investment would have paid off. He figures the recommendation would have steered 5 million to 15 million new followers his way within two years and that many would have made their way to his company’s Web site. “If 10% click on a link [to Mahalo] once a month,” he writes in an e-mail, “you have about 1 million visits a year. … I’d pay 5 cents for a follower.” Lots of businesses, he says, could benefit from such followings. An airline such as JetBlue could offer discounts to the first 1,000 people who respond and “never [have] another empty seat.”

Posted by Elise Daniel
June 17, 2009 at 10:45 am
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