I'm somewhat addicted to March Madness. I'm a big UConn Husky fan (of both the men and women programs) and they are losing, at the moment, to Albany. Oh well. So here I am surfing and posting to distract myself. Anyways, I've been doing a lot of research in the area of social software and social networking as you might tell from my posts here and at CollaborationLoop and a report is in the works that will be available to Burton Group clients. Myspace, Friendster, Tribe, Ryze, Consumating and so on have been part of this ongoing effort. My approach has been a little different than other research I've conducted before. I have been influenced a lot by a rough crib of a talk Danah Boyd gave at the recent O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference.
The topic of her presentation was glocatization but what I was most intrigued by was the section of her speech where she talks about "embedded observation" (in addition to her perspectives on culture and identity (with myspace as an example)). That indirect advice prompted me to approach social software a little differently than other topics I cover. Rather than rely on normal analyst interfaces (e.g., vendor interviews, hands-on use of software, client experiences, subject matter experts in the field, other published materials), I've tried my own interpretation at embedded observation which has helped provide additional context (to quote Danah "You cannot boil down culture into static representation of people. You must live the culture that you are creating.").
I think the results will be better research and advice to clients regarding how consumer trends might apply within a business setting (e.g., virtual relationships, trust, reciprocity, reputation and so on). And, it has given me the opportunity to met some interesting people and potentially, some new friends. Trying to explain what an industry analyst is and does remains a challenge. We are an odd lot.
Oh, BTW, UConn is back in the lead with just as few seconds left, so it looks like my March Madness addiction will continue.