Tag Archive | social-media

Pillory anno 2015

Unless the form is changed over time the concept is been known for centuries: the pillory of a person. When a person did something wrong he or she was punished for that by “the public”. During the Stone Age rocks were thrown, in the Middle Ages rotten food was thrown at people and now, during the “digital era” there is a new way to let people be punished by the public: Social media.

Shaming is a quite new phenomenon, but can have very big impact on both people and companies. Just a little mistake, an inappropriate tweet or post can go viral in a very short time. Most of the time the effects are irreversible and can ruin a person or company totally.

For example the case of Justine Sacco: She was 30 years old, senior director of corporate communications and had only 170 followers on twitter. Right before she boarded for her flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town she tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”. Her tweet went viral and (off course) not in a positive way. While she was asleep, during her flight she became the nr. 1 trending topic on Twitter. When 11 hours later her flight landed the damage was already done.

Her Twitter feed was filled with angry tweets and it went worse and worse.

“In light of @Justine-Sacco disgusting racist tweet, I’m donating to @care today”

“How did @JustineSacco get a PR job?! Her level of racist ignorance belongs on Fox News. #AIDS can affect anyone!”  

“I’m an IAC employee and I don’t want @JustineSacco doing any communications on our behalf ever again. Ever.”

And then one from her employer, IAC, the corporate owner of The Daily Beast, OKCupid and Vimeo: “This is an outrageous, offensive comment. Employee in question currently unreachable on an intl flight.”

Not only were people angry with her and was she target of a crusade against racism, the tone changed overtime into excitement and from there into entertainment.

“All I want for Christmas is to see @JustineSacco’s face when her plane lands and she checks her inbox/voicemail”

“Oh man, @JustineSacco is going to have the most painful phone-turning-on moment ever when her plane lands”

“We are about to watch this @JustineSacco bitch get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.”

In an interview she said: “I had a great career, and I loved my job, and it was taken away from me, and there was a lot of glory in that. Everybody else was very happy about that.”.

Another example was last summer with the killing of lion Cecil. Walter Palmer, the American dentist who paid 50.000 dollar to kill the lion was globally shamed for it. According to Dr. Peter Vasterman, media-sociologist social media are ideal to express indignation. First, because it is a easy to do and can be done immediately. Second the chance is quite big that you’ll find support from others. This has an amplifying effect. And there is a problem with the power of social media. According to Mr. Tempelman, IT attorney most people are hanged by the public before they are even convicted.

Hess & Waller conclude that in these digital times the shaming will increase and that for “ordinary” people there is almost no protection, regardless of the question if this person is guilty or not guilty. I think it is good to think about the consequences of “just sharing or retweeting” that one tweet or post. Like seen above, the impact can be way bigger what might be appropriate.



Hess, K. & Waller, L. (2014) ‘The digital pillory: media shaming of ‘ordinary’ people for minor crimes’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural studies, 28,4, pp. 101-111.

Ronson, J. (2015) ‘How one stupid tweet ruined Justine Saccos life’, The New York Times Magazine, 15 February 2015: p. 20

Unknown author:

NOS op 3 (2015) ‘Als prooi overgeleverd aan de social media’ 31 July 2015. Available: http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2049759-als-prooi-overgeleverd-aan-de-social-media.html


What’s your “klout” worth?

The importance of social media platforms never stops growing. What started of as “social networking sites” enabling friends to stay in touch has transformed into something way more than that. Organizations now have departments dedicated to social media platforms and how to improve their presence there.

What is Klout?

“Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user’s social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.”

Users at Klout can link multiple social networks and get a score which would be an aggregation of the scores from the various social networks individually. Currently, Klout uses data from Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia to create Klout user profiles that are given a unique Klout score.

Klout for business

These days, online advertising campaigns are a must for any major brand but social media campaigns are relatively still a new concept. Klout has realized that there is a huge market for earned media and the impact it can have on brand awareness and brand associations.

“Earned media (or free media) refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, as opposed to paid media, which refers to publicity gained through advertising.”

Why Earned Media Matters?

“Earned media isn’t new. Consumers have been talking about your brand for years on social media, and because 92% of people trust their peers, it’s had a major impact. In fact, earned media provides 4x the brand lift of paid ads.

But it’s never been more important to build earned media into your plan. Reaching consumers through organic and paid channels is increasingly difficult and expensive.
Klout Perks connects the world’s top brands with the most powerful content creators online to easily and scalably create authentic earned media that works.”
Check your Klout score and compare it with your friends!

Pinterest for Business

Companies around the world are using various social networks to promote their businesses and market their products. Although, one of the lesser known social networks among businesses is Pinterest, it has carved out a valuable niche for itself. At first glance this network seems to be all about home décor, food, and fashion. How can it be relevant for business?

Pinterest For Business

Pinterest has an active user base of 70 million members, this creates a great opportunity for businesses that want to drive traffic and new sales to their websites. Especially for lifestyle brands Pinterest is great fit as it is a scrapbooking network that focuses mainly on lifestyle. Because of this other companies might be skeptical to use Pinterest due to its limited marketing capabilities. This is unfortunate because there are a lot of ways Pinterest can help a business increase traffic to its website. Pinterest can connect users directly to the website of a business. Thousands of eCommerce sites now cite Pinterest as one of their top referrers for traffic to their websites. Data show that Pinterest drives more Web traffic than any other social network.

Pinterest is used as an online shopping catalog with 70% of people using it to get ideas on what to buy online. An industry study found that the orders coming from Pinterest increased by 79% from last year. In addition, a survey carried out by SocialMouths found that Pinterest generates trust among consumers. They trust the information provided on Pinterest more than on Facebook or Twitter. Also, the users of Pinterest are twice as likely to engage with brands they support than users of Facebook. This can provide more opportunities for brands to market their products and get fans clicking onto their websites.

Pinterest is a perfect social network to reach a female audience. 80% of Pinterest users are women. The average user is 25-45 years old and 50% have children. If a brand is focusing on this consumer segment than Pinterest should be its most important social network. Also, if businesses feel they have exhausted other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a great opportunity for reaching new audiences. Pinterest pins last on average three and a half months. That is 1600 times longer than Facebook where a post could last for just 90 minutes. This does not mean that the posts disappears, they just are not shown in the user’s newsfeed.  With Pinterest businesses can drive traffic to their websites for weeks after they create a post.

Most importantly, Pinterest is extremely easy to use for companies. The process to create pin boards and populate them with images is not complicated and businesses can start directing traffic to their websites straightaway. Pinterest also offers helpful analytics tools that businesses can take advantage of when marketing their products. These tools provide insight into which pins are performing best and how much traffic they are generating to the website. 80% of the pins on Pinterest have been repined from someone else therefore, Pinterest does all the hard work and generates traffic to the website without businesses having to work hard for it.

A new “Buy Pin” is coming soon that will let users purchase products without leaving Pinterest, using a credit card or Apple Pay. This will create the possibility for consumers to buy a product directly as they see it on Pinterest without the extra clicks of visiting the website. This can generate a lot more sales for businesses. Therefore, in the future Pinterest will businesses’ number one network for generating traffic as the opportunities this network provides are greater than may seem in the first place. What do you think?






Facebook causes depression

Do you ever feel depressed after scrolling down your Facebook-timeline for the fourth time in 2 minutes during an uninteresting lecture? (Not an Information Strategy lecture of course). Anyway, you are certainly not the only one with such a feeling. We all have those ‘friends’ on Facebook who are for the third time in two weeks on vacation and definitely do not have any doubts to share these lovely moments by posting all the nice pictures of these trips (including the food pictures). Or have you ever felt jealous after scrolling down on your timeline and seeing that everyone has great times with their loved ones, while you are sitting on the couch and watching some Netflix on your own with a pizza and a beer? You are again certainly not the only one with this feeling.

A majority of the Facebook users post something that looks more beautiful than it really is in reality. This can also happen unconsciously, however, do not forget that a bulky part of the posts give a false picture of the reality. On the other hand, who wants to post some boring stuff where no one is waiting for? Better make something beautiful of it and receive some more likes. Everything for the likes!

However, can Facebook really cause depressions? Not so much that, but it can certainly cause depressed or worse feelings. A new study finds not only a link between Facebook and despressive symptoms, there is also a link between Facebook and the well-established psychological phenomenon ‘Social comparison.’ This is the cause of the depressive symptoms, as you are comparing your ‘normal life’ to the extremely happy posts on your timeline. A study from University of Houston shows that people who used Facebook are tended to have more depressive symptoms.

I am not telling you to immediately delete your Facebook account, I am telling you to be aware of this phenomenon and do not take all the ‘happy’ Facebook posts too seriously. As the Dutch saying goes: ‘Neem het met een korreltje zout.’ (Take it with a grain of salt.)

Enjoy this video and think about it. Is this the truth?

Author: Jesse van Hofwegen (375283jh)


Walton,  A. G., (2015). New Study Links Facebook To Depression: But Now We Actually Understand Why. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/04/08/new-study-links-facebook-to-depression-but-now-we-actually-understand-why/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].

Sorokanich, R. (2014). This is why you shouldn’t take people’s Facebook lives seriously. [online] Sploid. Available at: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-is-why-you-shouldnt-take-peoples-lives-in-facebook-1595563358 [Accessed 11 Oct. 2015].


Twitter Increase Character Limit

As you might have heard in the past few weeks Twitter is considering removing the 140-character limit. Currently, Twitter is creating a new product that will enable users to share tweets with an unlimited amount of characters. But what does this mean for the future of twitter? There are various characteristics that separate Twitter from other social networks but the 140-character limit has always been the most important trademark of Twitter. Twitter has been under scrutiny about this for years and many have argued that Twitter should expand the limit. But now that this might actually happen, will the users see blocks of text on their timelines? Or will it be a separate blog-type of service? This change will certainly have an impact on marketers who use Twitter to connect to consumers. Due to the longer content that will crop up almost immediately after the change, marketers will have to spend more time writing the body of tweet. This could create a shift on Twitter from many, small tweets throughout the day to fewer, longer tweets because marketers will not want to deplete their own time and resources and alienate consumers who may unfollow if they feel bombarded with content.

Lifting the limit might seem like a good thing, however, will Twitter be able to differentiate itself from other social networks after this implementation? This change could be detrimental to the unique community of writers and creatives who have found a home on the platform. The inconvenience of the 140-character limit has forced Twitter users and marketers to become better writers and salespeople. These parameters have taught Twitter users to develop their own unique style and flow. The only downside to the limit is that there is not much room for nuance. Twitter user must create a thread of tweets in order to show a progression of thought. However, this separation actually allows followers to process information much more seamlessly. After practicing marketers can learn to use the limit to their advantage with more precise and to the point content, as the most successful Twitter users manage to be both poignant and witty in bite-sized portions.

Not only is Twitter a platform where ideas are exchanged constantly but it is also a platform that turns minorities into targets of harassment by trolls. If Twitter is strongly considering lifting the 140-character limit ban, it must first put in place stricter anti-harassment regulations. Without the character limit trolls will be given more freedom to attack. This can cause the number of Twitter users to decline while Twitter is desperate to find new ways to attract users to the product.

Twitter wants to improve its appeal to the mainstream social media users, who do not know how to interact on a 140-character landscape. Removing the 140-character limit is a way to achieve that and will provide new readers of marketers’ content. However, the question arises whether or not this would actually increase Twitter’s audience. Twitter’s 140-character limit has force innovation in language and art, and created a platform perfectly tailored to facilitate instant interaction and community building. Instead of eliminating the characteristics that make Twitter unique among its competitors and the power these innovations have, Twitter should focus on making it secure for users and use this opportunity to improve this innovation and differentiate even more. Do not mess with what is not broken. Or do you think otherwise?






A Facebook ‘Like’, what is the value of it?

Last week I went fencing with some friends and we got a discount of €300,-. This because we promised to like their Facebookpage. We were with a group of 30 people, thus it would mean that every person got a discount of €10,- each. Afterwards I thought by myself, was this discount reasonable or could we have asked for more discount?

You post a photo on Facebook to show your friends what you did that day or maybe to make them jealous. Your friends see your post and like it or not: How many likes do you get on average?facebook_statistics_by_sedj-d3dw2uc

Because of the growing use of Social Media nowadays, companies must have marketing strategies and it is important to look for the social engagement for their brand. The more likes, the more credible it is for their customers and the better a company would perform.

I started researching the internet about the value of a page like and post likes. A page like is in my point a view very valuable for companies, it says something about the reliability of the brand’s content. If you look at the Facebook page of a company with lots of likes you automatically trust the brand more than a unknown company Facebook page. According to the research of Syncapse, one like was $174.17worth in 2013 (what would be about €130). This is concluded after a research in which they looked at two thousand Facebook users, who liked a certain brand, how much money they would spend on this brand, if they would recommend it and if they would purchase at the competition(Lobosco, 2013).

So if this would be true, you could calculate the  total company value if you multiply the number of likes by the value of one like? Sadly there are more factors who influence the value of one like. Pages are liked in more than 35 percent of the cases for participate in a contest,  to win all sorts of prices. Thus by setting out a contest, companies try to get as many people likes on their page. These kinds of contests calls not loyal ‘fans’ to like a page, they just want to win and are not real customers who are engaged to a brand.

In my opinion the value of one like really depends on in which stage the company is, the size and the interaction. The likers must be active and engaged to your company to be valuble. If a company operates locally and just started it is important to collect ‘likes’ and  publicity in their operating segment. Furthermore, because of the importance of social media in our life, and the average time spend on social media we should not underestimate the power of Socail Media and the ‘likes’. I think the discount was too big for the effort and our engagement to like the Fencing page.

‘What is your opinion about the value of likes? And when Facebook would include a ‘Dislike’ button on their site, what do you think will happen’?



Technology of the Week “B2C e-commerce”: The future of shopping


Since the rise of the internet in our everyday life, a lot has changed. Firms had to revolutionise their product strategies, adapt to a whole new 4Ps conception, and serve a whole new platform of markets, namely e-markets. The trend of e-shopping was then introduced in order for firms to increase sales via the e-commerce channel. This lead to further innovations in order to contrast the vicious competitive environment of e-markets, while trying to transfer the in-store shopping experience directly online. With that being said, this article will introduce two new emerging technologies that are involved in the realistic transition between in-store and online shopping through Augmented Reality (AR).

Social Shopping

Social shopping is an e-commerce methodology bridging social media and online shopping together. Social media impacts the shopping behaviour in a way in which other people like friends, family, bloggers and celebrities recommend and suggest certain products and services to the consumers. The idea behind a social shopping website is that it provides the potential customer with blogs and virtual communities to help him in his decision in buying consumer goods and services. This is achieved by the average consumer share his shopping ideas, exchanging opinions on products, and recommending one another on what to buy and what not to buy.

A research on social shopping in 2010 found out that consumers’ trust in product recommendations had not only a direct and significant positive effect on their purchase intentions, but also a strong indirect positive effect on buying the product from that specific website where the information was originally found. The intention of a consumer to purchase a good directly from the website could in that case directly be affected by the trust in the website, thus creating an incentive to build a online shopping platform (Yu, 2010).

To better understand this, we used Shopcade as an example to analyse the technology further, and base conclusions.


Shopcade is a website and mobile app that creates a community of fashionistas and allows anyone to easily purchase the items that they see posted. The site has two main sections: the trending section and the feed section.

The trending feed is curated by the app itself. This means that it is a section with content posted only by the Shopcade team. This content comes usually in the form of blog posts regarding different fashion trends, whether it is for clothing, accessories or other items (for example, one post gave the most recent trends in duvet covers). Being a content provider as well as a service provider definitely adds value for the customers of the company. On the other hand, the feed section contains content created exclusively by bloggers and members of the community. This adds even more to the social aspect of Shopcade, giving a very Instagram-like feel to the whole social experience. This is what Shopcade does successfully. It actually created a situation where online shopping offers an experience that would be awkward to achieve in the store.

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed. It is directly applicable to the case of Shopcade.

Schermata 2015-09-24 alle 18.43.52

When it comes to their revenue model, Shopcade offers nothing new. As can be expected from such a business, they make money from affiliate marketing and sales. This means that they receive commission for all the purchases made from their website. In addition, some brands want more exposure, which requires them to pay more money to Shopcade.

Virtual Fitting Room (VRF)


VRFs are the online substitution of in-store fitting rooms. It is available on PC-laptop and mobile devices. VFRs rely heavily on Augmented Reality (AR), which employs specialized software and hardware to merge the digital and the physical worlds by immersing digital information into real video to generate persuasive looking scenes in real-time. Personal measurements can be included online to allow the framework to build a 3-D avatar of the customer fitting the item. It’s built on a three-step algorithm: it builds/scan the user body through data measurements (size, width, length…), reference points (i.e face and figure) via AR, and finally, it builds the avatar incorporating the clothes on a superimposed 3D image.

Software companies such as Virtusize, Fits.me and Clothes Horse have all adapted this new technology providing it to big retail companies, attempting to tackle the fit challenge with a range of technology-based solutions, from “morphing mannequins” to size recommendation engines, all with the goal to simulate the physical fit and sizing experience (G. Randall, 2015).

Often enough shoppers complain about long waiting lines in shops and poorly set up fitting rooms. Conditions such as terrible lighting and a lack of space in the room tend to dominate the endless list of complaints. The slow but steady introduction of VFR has revolutionised the shopping industry, specifically the e-commerce aspect of it.

Using VRFs could actually increase the pleasure of shopping in many ways. Firstly, there is no hassle of having to physically put on several different clothes. The ability to take pictures whilst “trying on” these clothes means that customers can easily compare outfits. Furthermore, many side-menus can be added into the technology, this would be up to a firm to research what sort of features its customers need when trying on clothes. Some great features that many shoppers and experts posted include the ability to like and dislike garments, save pictures of outfits for later, see reviews and prices of products, as well as the ability to call in real-time service (LinkedIn, 2015).

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed, applicable to every aspect of the VRFs. As it can be observed, it is filled with opportunities leaving thoughts and space for improvement.

Schermata 2015-09-24 alle 18.53.09

Future perspectives

With the VFR component only, the customers missed the social element of shopping. On the other side, the current social shopping services do not offer a developed VFR experience yet, making a visit to the store easily a necessity. We believe these technologies will merge together as the result will provide an improved customer experience. In the future those various digital resources – VFR and Social Shopping included- will be combined in an overall bigger market. Indeed, as someone will be shopping from his home -trying out clothes through the VFR system-, the person will be able to ask the opinion of a friend or a shopping assistant; involving social shopping (IBM, 2010).

The combination of those two technologies presses the question whether physical retail shops will exist in the future. It seems not to be a question of “If” but “When” physical stores will become obsolete. The reader should ask himself in how much time this change would have taken place: 5, 10, 20 years? It is difficult to say. Humans tend to think linearly, however the rate at which technology imposes itself on the world rather corresponds to an exponential curve as Ray Kurzweil and the institution of Singularity University (2012) are professing.


Yu, K.-L. H.-C.-Y.-P. (2010). Antecedents and consequences of trust in online product recommendations”, Online Information Review.
Randall, G. (2015). Fashion ecommerce: are virtual fitting rooms the silver bullet?. [online] Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66058-fashion-ecommerce- are-virtual-fitting-rooms-the-silver-bullet/ [Accessed 18 Sep. 2015].
LinkedIn (2015). Virtual changing rooms will revolutionize fashion retail [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/virtual-changing-rooms- revolutionize-fashion-retail-moles-mba

Team 13:
Claudio Corti
Maximilian Wiedmaier
Alex Furnica
Maxim Gggurevic
Paul Grandjouan

The future of B2C e-commerce: Facebook

Facebook has been ever-growing every year, introducing always surprising news. An infinite number of retailers already have their own confirmed official Facebook page, allowing to be able to market their products, stay in touch with customers, build a Word of Mouth chain reaction and store recommendations for others to see. But what if Facebook and retail could merge together enhancing e-commerce in social media as well? If you were not up to date with Facebook’s latest move to use Shopify’s platform allowing companies and individuals to sell their products directly on Facebook. For those unfamiliar with Shopify, it’s an all-in-one platform used for e-commerce with over hundred-thousands of users already. Shopify and Facebook have been tendering, and working along-side since approximately one year. This year, they’ve announced that Facebook is currently testing the new “buy” button (F. Vendrame, 2015).

This move from Facebook to close up to the eCom world is part of its new strategy to enhance its platform to online selling. Most likely, a strategy to both attract new users as well as to attract new firms willing to sell and post their products inside to the social network. In other words, with this move Facebook is allowing for e-retailers to evolve from simply being advertising sections to incorporated eShops (F. Vendrame, 2015).

Regardless of the benefits, it’s a change that uses Shopify’s Facebook store only: it hasn’t given any benefit to brands uniquely on their personal Facebook pages. More specifically, these products are not openly seen in a major e-retailer’s official certified Facebook page, resulting in little improvement or increase in sales via social media.

Furthermore, research has shown that the average population still prefers to shop in-store rather than online. Nearly 40 percent of consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to just 27 percent who do the same online, according to PwC’s annual consumer survey (C. Brooks, 2015). Usually, the main reasons why this is still the case, it’s because they want to avoid delivery costs, it’s more fun, and you get to see the item directly (C. Brooks, 2015). Another article states that: “Although e-commerce seems to get all the media attention these days, in reality, the Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study notes, 90 percent of all U.S. retail sales still happen in stores. Just 5 percent occur via online-only channels such as Amazon.com, and another 5 percent occur on the e-commerce sites of companies that also have brick-and-mortar locations”. Therefore, Facebook needs to do something more than just to amplify with Shopify if it wants to enhance the game of e-commerce in its platform. However, one solution might have found it’s light recently.

Given that on average, the 1.44 billion users spend about 20 minutes on Facebook on average, and describe Facebook as a good way to stay in touch with the world (Youtube: Facebook-Good or Bad, what’s your opinion, 2012), if both concepts of e-commerce and Facebook were to be mixed together I believe it will increase the percentage of online-shopping. In fact, Facebook has recently announced a new innovation that portrays the social network closer to e-commerce. For instance, the social network will open up two new sections: Shopping and services, which allows businesses to feature their products and services directly from their Facebook pages (Mashable, 2015). Facebook possesses over 45 million pages, and with this new features for pages, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Samberg believes that it will allow for corporations, firms, small flower shops or non-profit organisations to further  house the information people are really looking for. FB-services-ecommerce-640x580

From a personal perspective, I am very pleased with this innovation from Facebook’s standpoint. It leads to a mixture of virtual social interaction, and getting update on friends’ life whilst “scrolling” for what product to buy on the same platform. This will save up a lot of time for consumers, as well as for e-retailers. I am personally a big user of Facebook, and I have used online company pages to be directed to their products on their website. I have worked behind online marketing via Social Media before, and I know that it’s hard to generate traffic on a major brand or retailer’s web shops from social media. Henceforth, I am excited to see where this could lead to, and whether this could be the very next step of Facebook.

What’s your opinion on Facebook merging with e-commerce?

Used sources:



Study Shows Consumers Prefer Shopping in a Store, Not Online



Will Tinder change how people find love in India?


Tinder is an online dating app that allows you to set up a profile and put a brief description about yourself. Then you can start and look at pictures of woman or men and say whether you find them attractive or not. If so you just send a heart and if they like you back and send a heart back you have a match and from there on you can start chatting with each other.

It can be harder than it looks and definitely not something to begin with if you don’t have a thick skin. Imagine giving 50 hearts and not even receiving 1 heart back, this is especially the case for men. The funny thing is also that you send hearts what stands for love.. But actually chances of finding real love are minimal, it’s more likely to find someone for a one-night stand or just a date, because you are just choosing based on looks and nothing more. The brief description can’t be enough for someone to put something interesting on.

Now we go back to India and the rising Tinder use. In India 90% of the marriages are arranged and this is especially the case in the rural areas. In the big cities like New-Delhi the concept of dating marriage and sex is changing. Tinder is the app that is part of this change. It only arrived in India a year ago and already grows with an astonishing  1% a day.

In a country like India it’s not surprising that a lot of people live a double life. We have the parents that are basically arranging everything for their kids but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t hooking up or don’t have one-night stands. This app leaves your options open even though your parents are arranging a marriage for you.

The days that we bumped on to someone on the train station and fell in love are gone. The real life interactions are decreasing with more apps like Tinder on the market.

Do you guys think that a country like India needs something like Tinder? Or what are your own experiences with Tinder? Have you found real love?


Twitter Beating Facebook in Race to E-Payment

Twitter users in France can now tweet money to their followers. This effectively means that Twitter has beaten Facebook by being the first to introduce P2P transfer of money over their own platform.

Social networks have been in a race to implement integrated e-commerce solutions on their website. Facebook was the first to introduce e-commerce solutions (e.g. Shopify), but the possibility to transfer money is still missing. However, Facebook is rumored to already have applied for the relevant licenses for the ability to transfer money. An interesting addition to this is that Facebook has hired former CEO of PayPal to head their messaging division, which hints that in the future e-payments might be included in the functions of the Facebook Messenger.

BPCE (the second largest French bank by number of customers) has teamed up with Twitter to enable anyone with a bank account in France and a Twitter account to make use of the service. It is not yet clear if the transfer would remain private or if it would be shared with followers, as it is done on Venmo (owned by PayPal). Further details should be available after the company’s press conference in Paris on Tuesday, 14 October 2014.

This initiative is following Twitter’s introduction of a „Buy” button last month, which was the platform’s first direct step into e-commerce. Nathan Hubbard, head of e-commerce at Twitter stated, that conversations between brands and other users were mostly transactional, thus the enabling of selling directly through the platform was an obvious next step.

As S-Money, the subsidiary of BPCE coordinating the payments through Twitter mentions on their website, the payment mode should be simple, free, quick and most importantly, secure. As payments through social networks should be gaining importance in upcoming times, banks are faced with new challenges, including their decision whether to be included in this trend.

Would you use such systems to transfer money through? And do you think all banks should move in line with these developments?







Social media and Emerging markets: A quick case study of Brazil

On the 12th of October the WSJ published an article on Social Media growth in Brazil, entitled ‘Brazil: The Social Media Capital of the Universe’. Upon reading this somewhat bombastic title I was sceptical, but as I started to read, I thought that since we, as BIM students, tend to focus our interests mainly on North America and Europe, the insights into this market may surprise some of us and help us to broaden our horizons.

So let’s get you intrigued: Ranked according to country, Brazil has the second biggest user group on Facebook with 65 million profiles in 2013. In December 2012 Facebook saw nearly 44 million unique visitor, which represented a 22% increase to December 2011. In September 2012, in the rest of the world the time spent on Facebook dropped by 2% to 361 minutes per month, while Brazilians spent on average 535 minutes on the network representing an increase of 208% in comparison to the year prior. For Twitter, Brazil is also the second biggest market (after the U.S.) with 41.2 million users, growing with approximately 23% in the first six month of 2012. All in all, the 78 million Brazilians spend 36% of their online time on social media websites.

Behind this growth are two main drivers: namely the Brazilian culture and the diffusion of smartphones and Internet among the population.

In a nutshell the Brazilian culture is very social and people are eager to communicate among another. Alexandre Hohagen, the Vice President of Facebook Latin America describes “[it as] common for someone to start talking to you in the elevator or in a restaurant just to start a conversation”. In addition, Brazilians seem to be more open towards new forms of commerce:  a study by eCRM123, a Brazilian market research company, indicated that 77% of users hold a positive attitude towards purchasing via social networks.

Approximately only 50% of the Brazilian populus is online and smartphone penetration rates are estimated to be at around 23%. However, a number of factors, growth of the middle classes, government investment in internet infrastructure and smartphone providers switching to faster internet connection systems, propel the growth of internet and social media adoption (figure).


Over the course of the next three years it is estimated that advertising spending in Brazil will amount to $5.6 billion in online advertising, which represents a bigger budget than India, Russia or Indonesia.

While the title of the article in the WSJ is over the top, the newspaper is right in predicting a strong market growth in social media – a topic in a country that BIM students should keep in mind.


Chao, L. 2013. Brazil: The Social Media Capital of the Universe. [online] Available at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323301104578257950857891898 [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

comScore, Inc. 2013. comScore Releases ‘2013 Brazil Digital Future in Focus’ Report. [online] Available at: http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press_Releases/2013/3/comScore_Releases_2013_Brazil_Digital_Future_in_Focus_Report [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

Emarketer.com. 2013. Brazil’s Social Audience Keeps Growing, as New Web Users Join In. [online] Available at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Brazils-Social-Audience-Keeps-Growing-New-Web-Users-Join/1010003 [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

Holmes, R. 2013. The Future Of Social Media? Forget About The U.S., Look To Brazil. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2013/09/12/the-future-of-social-media-forget-about-the-u-s-look-to-brazil/ [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

Referrals? Why should we use them?

Referrals are already very powerful to use; according to some; but why are they useful for a company? Nowadays people can refer a product or service to other people by social media. Most of the times you buy a product and you can refer it to friends, family, colleagues and others. In this way companies try to use word-of-mouth in the online environment. Word-of-mouth is a very powerful tool, because people are more likely to buy products when they hear from friends or experts that it is a good product. So it is likely that referrals are powerful for companies.


The article A. Green (2013) suggests that companies should use referrals, because they are a powerful tool to convince people to buy the product. But companies do not know how they should use it. Most companies stimulate referrals at every social media platform where the companies should look which platform has the most interaction and referrals. For some companies it might be useful to use Google+ where visual companies could make better use of Pinterest and Instagram. The article states that 60% of the social media traffic comes from referrals and that the conversion is the highest among people that were referred to the website.


The table at the right shows he different kind of visits to a website by different kind of contact points. Most people got to the website by an organic search engine like Google or go to the website directly. After this the highest way people got to the website were referrals. But even though organic search got more visitors to the website, referrals has an conversion rate of almost 4 times higher than organic search. This means that people that go the website by a referral are more valuable customers for the company than customers that go to the website in any other way. Referrals are part of the social media platforms, but this research separated them. The table shows that more people go to the site by referral than social media. This implicates that it is more useful to make interesting posts than to redirect customers to a new product on you website by making a Facebook post.

Referrals also benefit the brand awareness of the company. Referrals increase the exposure of a post, because people send it to people they know who will get a positive view of the company. Because when your friend likes it, it must be a good company right? In this way companies should not focus their social media strategy on promotions or other type of commercial activities. Companies should focus their social media strategy on producing interesting posts that make people enthusiastic, exited and people need to find it interesting to share the post to other people they know. In this way referrals themselves can be more powerful than social media posts.





When Big Data meets Psychology.

Research on personality has always been quite time-consuming: looking for participants who are willing to fill out an extensive questionnaire can be very difficult. The following study provides next to interesting insights, and a great basis for further research on personality.

A group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania conducted one of the largest studies on language and personality ever. They analyzed the Facebook status updates of 75,000 participating volunteers, resulting in more than 700 million words, phrases and topics.

All the participants completed a personality questionnaire through an application and made their updates available for this study. This way, the researches could look for linguistic patterns and match them to character traits. They found amazing correlations between personalities and language used in social media and were able to built models that predicted the individual’s age, gender and result of the personality questionnaire based on their online communication.

The researchers created word clouds with words, expressions and symbols that were common to the ‘psychological’ world of people with a certain trait. The word clouds provided insights into the relationship between personality or traits and language. For instance, participants that scored well on emotional stability in the questionnaire turned out to refer to sports much more than did others. This could be a great opportunity to explore; neurotic people could become more emotionally stable if they would engage more in sports.

The researchers are quite font of this new research method: they state that ‘’these word clouds come much closer to the heart of the matter than do all the questionnaires in existence.’’ Moreover, ”traditional studies have found interesting connections with pre-chosen categories of words such as ‘positive emotion’ or ‘function words.’ However, the billions of word instances available in social media allow us to find patterns at a much richer level.”
This research method could be much more efficient, as participants in future studies could just make their social media updates available, instead of filling in surveys and questionnaires. This could lead to an enormous increase in participants willing to volunteer for research purposes.

These are the word clouds that the study made available. Take a look at your own status updates and compare: do you fit in your profile?









Click & Pay Online, Eat & Connect Offline

Founded in December 2012, BonAppetour is a web-based social platform that aims to ‘provide travelers an authentic dining experience; be it just eating or even cooking with locals in the comfort of their homes’. Born as a venture startup, it is as an alternative to eating at restaurants.


  • Social platform : The offline activity is made possible through online activity. Based in a consumer-to-consumer market, this business model is powered by social media.
  • Pricing : The prices of the menu are pre-determined by the hosts, and customers can choose according to their budget. The current price range from ‘Free – 50 Euros’. Hosts provide additional information signals such as ingredients list and a photograph of the dish.
  • Profiles: A trust premium is involved in the transaction where fewer cues on the quality of food and experience are available for informing the decision, as compared to a typical restaurant.

Traveler – Experience Journey with BonAppetour

Hosts - Experience Journey with BonAppetour

Hosts – Experience Journey with BonAppetour

Current Approach to Increase Platform Credibility

1. Building a community through the its Facebook page – through real-time updates of successful meetings and sharing through photos or generating discussions, it helps to foster online word-of-mouth.

2. Blogs that documents stories – Through careful content curation, BonAppetour is able to showcase the unique aspects of the social experience it has enabled. And the links to traveler’s blog especially prominent digital nomads can help to increase its ‘searchability’ with backlinks and referral searches.  All these adds up to improve the platform’s credibility.


1. How much has consumer behavior changed because of IT? Whether both parties are leveraging on some other form of external information sources to guide their transaction – e.g. I may do a quick Facebook check on the host and not rely only on the reviews provided on BonAppetour.

2. An area of research is the amount of information and attributes that is important or can affect the probability of a successful transaction.

Future Progress

They are now currently working on sharing/referral that leverages on similarities in social interests in their existing customer pool to expand outreach. They have a profile page that collates reviews of past ‘experiences’, and it can be used for future observational learning purposes.  Also, the quality level of information provided may vary, a good cook may not have the best photography skills and would not be able to present his or her dishes in the best ‘light’. In future, BonAppetour may need to spend effort in educating their hosts of how they can make information signals work to their favor and other SEO tools such as the keywords to use to increase their ‘attractiveness’.

Learning from Others

EatWith is the Airbnb for dinner parties. The site layout incorporates knowledge of online search behaviors for intangible goods – providing images of the end product and reviews. To help its customers – travelers and hosts – avoid ‘lemons’, the business currently screens hosts by interviews and allow hosts to vet their profiles. It also provides assurance services in the form of Eatwith Guarantee and insurance policy.

BonAppetour can seek to take a page out of the manual from EatWith’s business model of taking 15% cut and learn from to design tools to effect successful transactions.


EatWith – Example of host in Amsterdam, showing details of the kitchen, food and people involved.




1. http://www.webnews.it/2013/02/04/startup-che-weekend-a-milano/

2. http://www.bonappetour.com/how_it_works.php#

3. http://allthingsd.com/20130731/eatwith-an-airbnb-for-dinner-parties-sets-its-sights-on-u-s-cities/

LinkedIn changes its privacy policy to open up for teenagers

Most of you have heard of LinkedIn and belong probably to the 4 million registered users LinkedIn has in the Netherlands [1]. Recently LinkedIn changed its privacy policy in the Netherlands. The age limit is lowered from 18 to 16 years. This change opens op LinkedIn for teenagers, in line with the vision of LinkedIn to focus more on teenagers and students. In America the age limit is even lowered from 13 to 12, which could also happen in the nearby future in the Netherlands [2].

LinkedIn is trying to encourage these teenagers and students to sign up to LinkedIn, so that the can prepare themselves better towards a future job, an internship or more in general their carrier. These profiles are slightly different in a way that it is not possible to get a hit on their profile picture, function or date of birth through Google. A second change is that universities and other educational institutes are able to create pages, so that teenagers are more likely to use LinkedIn in the search for a school or university [2].

In my eyes the strength of LinkedIn always has been the professional attitude. Professionals can search for a job and expand their network, as well as other professionals try to find the right person for their (future) job application. There was no room for advertisements, spam or other unwanted contact [2]. LinkedIn was in my eyes the professional step that you made when you graduated high school and started you further career on a university.

With the change that is recently made, I can see troubles for LinkedIn. In my opinion, letting teenagers register on LinkedIn, the professional attitude of the site diminishes. It could be possible that the true professionals can have problems with finding the right person. Lowering the age limit of LinkedIn could also cause it to be a second Facebook in the future. The separation between the ‘work side’ and the ‘private side’ was in my eyes the strength of LinkedIn. I think teenagers from 16 till 18 (or maybe in the future even from 12 onwards) are not the ones who need to expand their network and look for a job on LinkedIn at that age. I think they are not of an added value, and could possibly diminish LinkedIns value by not being able to handle the more professional guidelines of LinkedIn that they are not familiar with at that age. This could lead to a switch of professionals to other sites as for example magnet.me, which lowers the truly important network effect of LinkedIn of connecting many professionals.[2].

[1] Jeffrey Weller, http://www.nutech.nl/internet/3468755/linkedin-telt-4-miljoen-nederlandse-gebruikers.html, 15 september 2013.

[2] Dennis Mons, http://www.nu.nl/internet/3575342/linkedin-gaat-zich-tieners-richten.html, 15 september 2013