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Dear all,

we speak a lot about the power of social networks -- on SOCNET as well as outside of this list. Personally, I am a marketing person and in my field many studies have, for example, analyzed the importance of social networks in new product diffusion. These studies usually recommend that firms should make use of social network data in their decision making. One example for this type of recommendation is that new products should be given for free (or "seeded") to certain opinion leaders to accelerate their adoption in the overall population.

When I'm reading this type of recommendation, I'm often  wondering how many firms can actually follow such guidelines. Besides companies which work in a business where social network data is essentially available for free (such as telecom firms or social media applications like Facebook), how can an average firm know anything about who is related to whom in order to leverage this knowledge in their decision making?

Are there any studies (or even anecdotal evidence, like articles in The Economist or Financial Times), that have looked into this? What is the share of "average" firms that can have access to social network data (or even some form of this)? Is it more 5% or 50%?

I'm very much looking forward to getting your thoughts on this,

Thanks in advance,


Michael Haenlein
Professor of Marketing
ESCP Europe
Paris, France

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