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June 08, 2009

Friend or Blogger or Both?

Was just looking at this Mintel report on Word of Mouth (WoM).  Mintel's interpretation is that traditional WoM (using actual lips and voice) beats online WoM by a large margin.

But when I read it, I immediately wondered: For people under 30 (and some older folks), to what extent is there an actual difference between the two as it relates to the question being asked?  Does "friend" mean the same as it did to Boomers and many GenXers?  Or is everyone in one's network these days (including Tom) considered a "friend"?

And even if the definition is the same (which I doubt, the way many folks collect online friends), if you heard a product recommendation (or even a mention) online from somebody you trusted as much as a friend, would you consider that person "friend" or "blogger"?

06:47 PM | Permalink


Word of Mouth has certainly changed in its meaning over the past few years. I was thinking about the last few books I picked up, most of my friends (people I knew before the internet) have posted a link on my blog, or on Facebook. I wonder where that would be calculated.

Posted by: Name Tags | Jan 6, 2010 12:10:31 PM

I am a little older. I don't give on-line friends quite the weight of real friends in term of advice or referrals.


Posted by: Larry | Aug 4, 2009 1:33:57 AM

Very true, as I read the first sentence of this post, my first thought was, 'what's the difference.' With technology jumping to the forefront of business and marketing, I think younger business people don't see much of a difference. I guess the biggest challenge of technology and WOM marketing online is the anonymity of it all.

Posted by: Promotional Products | Jul 25, 2009 5:30:45 PM

Very cool question. As a recent grad student, I'd have to say that I set apart my online friends (bloggers etc.) from my real-life friends. With Facebook, Myspace, and the abundance of blogs on the internet, there are so many people I have become friends with just as a social networking scheme. For example, I have hundreds of friends on Facebook and LinkedIn that I've only talked to once or twice. I wouldn't take any product recommendations or other ideas too seriously without talking to them in person. Also, there are so many people who just connect with each other to build links on their blogs just for the sake of link popularity, so any blogger friend would have to be my real friend in life in order for me to have 100% trust in him or her.

Posted by: Kye Swenson | Jul 17, 2009 3:24:18 PM

Of course both. Actually bloggers are also like friends. We can trust them as our friends.

Posted by: googli | Jul 2, 2009 5:43:13 AM

Interesting post! There are definitely bloggers I trust as much as friends--for certain values of "trust." I'm reading their blogs because we have certain interests in common, and over time you get to know a blogger's tastes and how they correspond with yours pretty well. For instance, I know that if Blogger X, who reads a lot of the same books I do, raves about new book Y, chances are, I'll like it too. That's just as powerful a recommendation to me as one of my real-life friends' recommendation would be.

Posted by: Lisa Junker | Jun 8, 2009 11:51:03 PM

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