Social media as the central nervous system for learning about epilepsy

Social media netnography for epilepsy

Every year, companies spend over 32 billion U.S. dollars on market research worldwide. More than 95% of this money is spent on some form of traditional research, based on interviewing (Esomar 2009). Undoubtedly, such research is valuable. But do we really listen to the market in such a culture of interviewing? Are we capturing spontaneous thoughts and feelings if we move people through rigid research processes of surveys and focus groups? 
The issue with traditional research methods is that we always rely on consumers’ recall of behavior, that the granularity and context may be too abstract and time pressure too great (Hayward 2009). Several forms of interviewing bias may arise, even when we thoughtfully set up a survey. Researchers frame the questions from their own perspective and may omit certain topics which consumers find important. The mere act of interrogating people, along with the social nature of the interview, has the potential to influence the information we obtain. Furthermore, people are often unreliable witnesses of their own experiences and emotions (Kearon and Earls 2009). Needs may be latent (and thus not consciously available), and in these situations individuals are often unable to express their true desires and feelings. Examples from the launch of new products are countless. A few examples include the PC, the mobile phone, and the Internet. In sum, these characteristics of interview-based research may hinder marketing researchers from finding the ‘golden nuggets’ they are looking for.

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