Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Deconstructing Anticipation via Social Media

With every social media platform exploding with either the Oscars or Fashion Week or the Future of Consumer Intelligence (#FOCI13), the anticipation levels for events in general have heightened to dizzying levels.  I am reminded that I have to plan my watching and eating schedule for the aptly hashtagged #OscarsParty, or plan my fashion week agenda by stalking #NYFW, and once again explore the exponentially growing ways to market my presence at the events or on the net – be it instagram, tumblr, twitter or downloading a momentary app.

Even Guy Kawasaki shared an infographic on the Oscar winners based on social media alone. The role of social media has evolved as an event enhancer and accessory to a fundamental connection and sharepoint, making it the backbone of existence.

My addiction to consumer behavior and personality deductions from two by two matrices quickly ignited the anticipation framework that groups people between planners and spontaneity seekers, and those who engage or observe in the activities they are about to embrace. And thus, akin to classic marketing research, we have consumer segments based on their social media usage and consequential anticipation. It fits with any upcoming event really, since part of marketing research is really understanding what drives consumers towards things, isn’t it?

Some prefer to observe the events; discretely or directly look, casually chat with others, snap a few photos, and continue in repeat mode. If done with planning, these are theorists; they will carve a niche with a well-defined blog or become journalistic fortune tellers. The spontaneous folk can be described as spectators, either following the crowd or simply observing what comes their way, instead of finding it, thus creating a group that many newbies fall into, including those that coincidentally feel the fever in the air.

People that like to engage in the events, who are bold enough to do more than photos and shatter their muted expectations, they can either do so via planning and fall into the enthusiast bucket, or be bold and brilliant enough to spontaneously trudge through the live events or be active on the social networks with vicarious pleasure, and fall into a category I have occupied many times: the addict.

No matter what your goal, objective and personality is, social media forms segments of consumers who you cannot ignore. And if you are even a spectator or an attendee of anything from Fashion Weeks to the Oscars to conferences like FOCI, you are likely fall into one of the deconstructed quads. Right now, I am still unsure of where I fall, but probably swaying between diametrically opposite ends of theorists and addicts.

As I’ve stated before on my blog, “An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.”

What tickles your anticipation?


Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

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