Travelblog: Volume 1 – Looking East: 1st October

We love to get to grips with local cultures when we travel abroad so here are a few of the things we noticed when we visited Tokyo recently:

  • You can sniff but not blow. You can smoke indoors but not on the street. So it’s all a bit inside out versus the UK.
  • The toilets are hi-tech, electronic beasts, there are more vending machines than anywhere else in the world and gizmos are king. But surprisingly, there’s very little chip and pin
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Social media monitoring

Social media monitoring sites – who are they, what do they offer and are they worth the cash?

Thanks to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and others, social media sites are a researcher’s playground for titbits on what’s hot or not. Luckily, there’s an array of off-the-shelf monitoring tools to help us make sense of the mass of data available.

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Lies, damned lies and statistics

Last week I spotted a really interesting blog by Brian Tarran that I think is worth sharing. It’s about the ‘lies by omission’ that crop up on social networks: those snippets of personal information and the views we intentionally choose not to publicise. Tarran ties the term in with the ‘like economy’ that tools such as Facebook have helped to create, where people can ‘like’ anything from status posts to brands and particular products. Saying ‘I like this’ is clearly nothing new: but it’s staged on a new level now, and in a more traceable format.

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Festival Season

Kate Downer and I recently came back from a festival. “Oooh – Glastonbury? Latitude?” I hear you ask. Well, er, no. it was the ESRC Research Methods festival. So yes, to call it a festival might be over-hyping it a bit but at least there were no portaloos!

So what did we learn? Well lots of interesting stuff about best practice in literature reviews, mass observation, researching personal lives and a great insight into the work of the Third Sector Research Centre. But the overwhelming impression I’ve been left with is of the gulf that still exists between academia, commercial researchers and clients. We were almost the only commercial researchers there and client-side researchers were also fairly few and far between.

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