The Death of Social Media Research #MRX

Books about survey research and survey design.

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It’s a story we’ve heard several times already. New research methods are wonderfully exciting but after we wear out the novelty and identify all the flaws, we quickly return to the tried and true.

Most recently, MROCs died a quick death. Researchers realized that this form of research only attracts people who are frequently online and who like to share extensive conversations among a small group of like minded individuals. Clearly, this method of research is biased and produces ungeneralizable results. Hence, the death of MROCs.

Mobile surveys as a new methodology took a little longer to die. We’ve been trying to make them work for a number of years now, failing regularly because of the inability of technology to keep up with survey requirements. And, of course, only certain types of people are willing to do mobile surveys and only certain types of research work with this method. Hence, the death of mobile surveys.

Online surveys we’re possibly the original new-fangled research method to die a slow death. Internet penetration could never and will never reach 100% which means online surveys will never be generalizable to the total offline population. This is why early predictions that online surveys wouldn’t last were so bang on accurate.

And now, the end is near, and so I’ll take, this final curtain. Bye, bye social media research. You were a fad that was fun and exciting while you were here. You taught me new and strange slang and profanity. You made me jealous of stunningly large sample sizes and datasets with thousands of unique variables. You made me marvel at the ability to listen to people from all walks off life, all experience levels, all social classes, and all over the world. But, given all of the flaws of the method, we know you are about to die. We will miss you but we loved you while you were here.

Much love,



2 responses

  1. 🙂 no fun… nobody wanted to join in and hop on the bandwagon, Annie!

  2. Annie, I love ya friend, but I respectfully disagree 😦

    I think SMR is far from dead! It may not be the topic of every single blog post (this is a good thing) but definitely still alive and kicking!

    MROCs….dead? Again, I don’t think they are dead. They may have evolved into useful more digestible formats, and clients may have figured out what works best for them, but I would far from consider them dead.

    Online surveys? I am not a quant guy, but I seem to still see a lot of online surveys running around, and lot’s of them being included in proposals and rfps. AmI really the only one that sees this?

    I guess I just don’t see everything as having to fill this magical un-achievable state of representation. It’s really kind of bogus in some aspects. When I am looking for brilliant ideas or new thinking, I don’t necessarily need something that is “representative”. Plus people change, their tastes, wants, needs change. So, I feel like representation is like a polaroid, rather than an on-going measuring stick.

    Maybe I’m the only one lol.

    Keep writing, you always have great stuff!!

    Happy holidays!

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