I was listening this week to an interview with an author who repeated a well-worn meme of social-media-aversion:
"I didn't think the world was going to care what I had for breakfast."
I've heard variations on that theme for quite a while now. In 2008 I sent a former colleague a Twitter search for the name of her new employer as an example of the conversations that were already happening about her brand. I asked if she was using Twitter. Her answer:
The answer is Yes, I do want to know what you ate for lunch.
It is important to businesses who sell lunch to know what you ate, how you felt about it. It's important to other people who are thinking about having lunch. It's not always about your one individual act of lunching, but what you can learn when aggregate your lunch preferences with thousands of others. Or see what else people who had the same lunch you had are paying attention to, following, talking about. When data is rampant, information emerges.
At AP42 we've started using a tool called Ekho to look for emergent properties of the social internet. Ekho's EkhoFocus™ can filter vast amounts of socially-generated conversations for intriguing and informative patterns, including geographically precise trends, sentiments, influence, spread, categories, salience, etc. It can correlate this info with public sources of data, as well as internal databases, to turn the data into information into valuable knowledge.
(I also frequently use a tool called "Google" - knowing that if I've thought about something, chances are other people are thinking about it, or something interestingly tangent to it. So I started with https://www.google.com/search?q=who+cares+what+I+had+for+lunch and sure enough, there is some prior art to this thinking, e.g. Tac Anderson's Who Cares What People on Twitter Had For Breakfast? ).
Bon appetit - what's in your lunchbox today?