By Dan Kvistbo
Following this year’s Esomar ‘online’ conference I was blessed with the opportunity to travel down to Key West for a couple days. Succumbing to code of practice and personal curiosity, I passed by 907 Whitehead St. to visit the house in which Ernest Hemingway spent most of the 1930’es. What better inspiration to write up a few lines of my own? After all, as Hemingway suggested: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
So here I am, spending my last eve at the lower Keys, bleeding in front of the typewriter’s modern-day reincarnation. Reflecting on the Esomar 3D conference gone by though, I acknowledge and appreciate that supersonic bloggers and fellow tweeters* have already long recaptured and commented on most every bit of content presented in Miami. I’ll therefore keep my own perspective on the presentations short and borrow a second and final quote from the noble, Nobel winning reference above: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master”.
The truth is that as much as we all have faith in our methodologies and praise various approaches for providing the better understanding of consumers and delivering our clients the deeper insight, we’re still only scratching the surface of the human consciousness and the immensely complex process of purchase decisions and their (inter-)relation to stimuli. It is however, precisely sharing our knowledge – our ideas, successes and failures, that will carry us further in our endeavor. To that extent, conferences like the Esomar 3D provide an excellent platform.
What made this event really differ from its prior equivalents though were not so much the additional themes, as it was the Fourth Digital Dimension. If you’re a #mrx tweep, you’ll know what I’m talking about: The meta-content offered by the twitter- and blogosphere. As Jon Puleston tweeted on the former: “Conferencing is so much more fun with a hot set of tweeters. Like watching TV at home with family & chatting about it.”. Jon’s observation resonated with this author for a couple of reasons. Allow me to elaborate…
Not only is engaging with fellow market researchers on twitter fun – it can also be a rewarding and learning experience. While I agree with Reg Baker’s criticism of the online echo chamber to some extent, social media is nonetheless a great setting for ideas to make out on a continuous basis and for fostering crowd accelerated innovation within our industry. However silly it may sound, I can’t begin to tell you all the things I’ve learned about market research through the #mrx community on twitter and LinkedIn over the past couple of years. I’d encourage you to join in, share your knowledge and engage in meaningful conversations for at least a few months before you judge for yourself.
The second reason why Jon’s reflection struck a cord with me is that the ‘family’-analogy isn’t as far-fetched as it may appear. Sure, the vast majority of anyone’s ‘friends’ on twitter are loose connections based on random communication at the intersection of interests. But like seeds tossed on bare soil some will die out yet given the right attention – some connections will take root and blossom beyond what you would have imagined. Indeed, there’s far more to twitter than the public 140’s that meet the eye of the beholder. The #eso3d hashtag is exhibit 1. Now, go see if you can spot the flowers?
It’s an unwalled garden and you’re invited in.
Note*: Jeffrey Henning has provided an excellent overview of the recaps here.