For most people in the past waking up in the morning was almost always followed by a mug of coffee and scanning through the news papers. But today it's waking up in the morning with a mug of coffee in front of the computer, checking emails and other social networking sites. While it is old news that social network sites enable users to keep in touch with their friends and dear ones, it must also be noted that the information such as gender, age, political views etc could also be used for user / consumer profiling for marketing purposes which otherwise would be a very time consuming and expensive data to obtain via market research.
Also researchers are now analysing the content of the messages posted by users to predict a range of things such as public sentiment on a social issue to box office hits. A BBC web publication indicates that the research conducted by computer scientist for hp, predicted a box office collection by analysing the tweets of social networking site twitter even before the movie was exhibited for public viewing. Their analysis predicted collection of the zombie movie, ‘The crazies' to be $16.8 M and the actual collection was 16.06M for the first us weekend. Similarly the movie ‘Dear John' was predicted to collect $30.71M and the collection was quiet close at $30.46M for the first US weekend.
The researchers further elaborated to BBC that by tapping into this kind of ‘collective intelligence' and classifying the tweets they were able to predict second week fortune of many films. This kind of sentiment analysis can provide useful information not just to film makers but also to the consumer brands and other businesses to understand and focus on their target customers in more effective ways. Even politicians in many countries are taking social networking seriously to be in sync with public sentiment.
So it is clear that while you tweet, post or scrap about mundane things like watching a movie or buying new mobile and write reviews about it, they are being carefully assessed by marketers as your opinion influences buying decisions of others, there by, having a direct impact on many businesses's revenue.