Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Megan McDowell
Privacy and Market Research
As the new year is still fresh upon us, it is good to reflect on the current status of things, and look at trends from this past year and imagine their impact on the future. Working with Market Research Online Community software still seems to be something from the future. But sometimes I like to step beyond this technology and think about technology trends in general. To start the article out I would like to go back to the early MySpace days and look at what I see as an emerging trend and one that could totally change the market research industry. When individuals first joined MySpace you could look up people that you went to school with and see everything they posted on their page. The privacy factor on Myspace was low. Individuals shared very deeply personal information and many times to the detriment of their character. Could personal information and privacy, which is now readily available to the general pubic, suddenly change, and create more intensified security. If it does, how will it affect market research?
MySpace Total Access
MySpace was a place where everyone could show their personality, create your own page with the designs you wanted, play music so when people landed on your page they listened to the song you designed. Then comes Facebook. Facebook was different than MySpace. It was cleaner, you weren’t forced to listen to someone else’s music. You could only see people’s photos if they accepted you as a friend. For the most part this new platform seemed more secure. It was not perfect at first, you sent a message to someone and it could not be deleted. It was there permanently. Slowly the security measures began to drop, and next came the selling of your personal information to companies. Then came the facial recognition software to recommend tags for friends. Slowly younger people started moving towards Snapchat and Instagram as photos and videos seemed more secure, and completely private if you wanted to be private. Messages in Snapchat disappeared after reading.
Growing Interest in Encryption
Then in 2006, comes a group of tech nerds who start using a digital currency that does not provide metadata to governments or banks. This digital currency is called Bitcoin and is often mocked as it grows in popularity, but at its heart is a security that is embedded in each transaction- if you purchase something online with Bitcoin, no other information is tied to the transaction. Many of the articles that begin to surface say that this is popular among people wanting to buy drugs etc. What if this is just a growing trend to take back the information that has been so readily available as a result of being in a digital world.
Too Much Access
What if this continues and apps and online communities and individuals start using this as a guide for the technology that they use. I have never heard anyone who was happy that their purchases and locations were being tracked so that large companies could suggest things for them to buy. What if the future is encryption with purchases so that large companies are kept out? This sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it? We have been having the opposite problem where we are able to collect so much quantitative research data from participants on the Internet that we don’t properly know how to sort through all of the data and find key insights. This is why MROC’s have been so popular because they help make sense of this massive amount of Big Data. But what if this switched?
Increased Need for Market Research
Well, if it switched, market researchers would still be needed, and more than ever. They would probably see an increase in budgets as they would need to go out into the field more to find out what individuals are thinking, talking about and doing. This could be a wild idea that security and encryption will be more important, but it needs to be considered because it’s implications could completely change the landscape.
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