Last year, I started a QRCA Texas chapter with 2 of my colleagues, and we had our second meeting down in Austin a few weeks ago. Guest presenter, Daniel Berkal (VP of Research and partner at The Palmerston Group), spoke about his immersive research study, Project Butterfly. I attended via FocusVision, and Mayuri (my awesome new employee) was able to attend the event in person!
Daniel's research study began when his clients tasked him with a multi-city project to understand the factors that contribute to social interaction and involvement. The research required Daniel's team to submerge themselves into real-life communities and situations to chronicle social behaviors.
He talked about the "speedfriending" experiment as a part of the study. It involved Daniel and his team recruiting respondents off the streets and asking them to spend a few minutes with other respondents, likely from very different backgrounds. Each person was then asked whether or not he/she would want to be friends with the new person person they met. Interestingly, most people answered "yes," which indicates a willingness in society to become friends with strangers even after meeting for only a short time.
David and team sought to find people who were "social butterflies" in real-life, as well as people who were "hyperconnectors" online. It was interesting how "social butterflies" and "hyperconnectors" differed when approaching social situations. The "butterflies" analyzed crowds, found similarities, engaged, and then gauged interest.
On the other hand, the "hyperconnectors" made highly charged statements and gauged responses in terms of quantity, not quality. Also, "hyperconnectors" were actually not social in-person. The online world did not seem to mirror reality, and those online "appeared to be playing a character."
But what does this mean for brands? The insights Daniel found apply to brands that are trying to interact socially with their audience -- it's much more important to maintain connections than just focusing on building numbers.
Anyway, it was interesting stuff, and always great to reconnect with the QRCA community! Wish I had been able to travel to Austin, though:(