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Real-Time Recommedations…

In continuing to think through how we measure communications effectiveness I keep coming back to the notion of recommend – something our COO and President, Jonathan Schwartz inspired us to think about.

As communicators we get caught-up in all kinds of abstract terms. Terms like Reputation. Which normally involve substantial research to do justice to. What I like about Recommend is how practical and real it is. “Would you recommend Sun?” is much easier to get a handle on than “What do you think of Sun’s Reputation”.

You can also capture Recommend scores very quickly and cost effectively. “Social’ recommend engines are a fountain of data and insight. Pew just did some more work on their growing influence and, the increasing participation of people in them:-

Pew Internet & American Life Project: Rating systems

Twenty-six percent of adult internet users in the U.S. have rated a product, service, or person using an online rating system. That amounts to more than 33 million people. These systems, also referred to as “reputation systems” are interactive word-of-mouth networks that assist people in making decisions about which users to trust, or to compare their opinions with the opinions expressed by others. Many Web sites utilize some form of this application, including eBay, Amazon, Moviefone and Amihot.

The usage patterns the report reveals point to a future in which decisions will be increasingly made based on recommend by third parties. The informal ecosystem of unpaid reviewers.

An earlier Pew Internet & American Life survey conducted in 2003 showed that 44% of
U.S. internet users above the age of 18 have contributed their thoughts and files to the
online world. This group of users, made up of more than 53 million American adults,
has participated in posting photographs, written material, or audio files to Web sites,
maintained their own site, ran a Web cam, or undertaken some other method of adding
content to the Web. That same survey found that 13% of internet users have their own
Web site and 21% have allowed other users to download files from their computer,
including music and video files.

Ultimately we are going to have to communicate with even more influencers. This is going to require scaling communications beyond 1:few. Blogs and Wikis have much to offer here. For me this is a good thing – Lee says it well,

The more voices that are in the mix, … the better off everybody is,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew group. “There’s more wisdom in groups than there are in individuals no matter how expert they are.”

I’m not suggesting that online rating engines are a panacea – but they are a useful, real-time tool that communicators, for the most part, do not use today. Take a look at how you can incorporate Recommend into your dashboard using them as a source. It will also increase your relevance in the executive suite.

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