Sunday, 27 May 2012

Analysing conversation

I am always intrigued by what people spend their time talking about (a quick google suggests we spend between 2 and 5 hrs a day talking). So how to get that data?

It would be an interesting experiment to place mics in bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, near watercoolers, etc to capture conversation, which could then be transcribed and analysed. Obviously the particular locations would need to disclose to people that the experiment was in progress, and steps would need to be taken to ensure privacy of data.

Alternatively, venues could offer subsidised drinks and food in return for this invasion of privacy, with marketing organisations paying the venues for the resulting intelligence gleaned. This could potentially be a win-win-win for consumer, venue owner and marketing organisation. There is also the potential for marketing organisations to identify people who are Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen, and follow-up with these individuals, for example offering them free samples.

An initial batch of questions:
  • What topics are people talking about? (work, home life, friends, celebrities, TV shows, etc)
  • What brands/companies/products are people talking about? What are they saying? What attitudes were conveyed by word choice and tone of voice?
  • How do people get from one topic to another?
  • What syntactic structures are common?
There are a couple of movements into the tracking consumers space, e.g. SceneTap and Shopperception, so perhaps this (potentially scary) future might become commonplace and not an experiment.

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