Sunday, August 09, 2009

Price of Social Life

I coax a bunch of Market Algorithmicists to lunch on Fridays and survey the state of the world, and conversations go from theorems to products, organizing events, chores and other things. This week's group comprised Nitish Korula, Mallesh Pai, Sudipto Guha, Eyal Even-Dar, Yishay Mansour and others, and led to an interesting discussion: If you were a social network where people updated their activities, friends, families, college and work lives, what could you do?
  • You could run online marketing studies with large number of people in each target group and see what products/ads they liked. Will it be biased?
  • You could recommend products, events, friends whatever based on your social footprint. To what extent will privacy be compromised?
  • You could let friends recommend sponsored material and be advertising conduits. What is the social cost and benefit?
  • The Economist observed that social networks were really just soap opera, and people should be charged thus, that is, shown ads at intervals while on the network, like in TV.



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