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I found the “Playing the Real Life: The Ludification of Social Ties in Social Media” reading to be quite interesting because I took a class called Data Analytics which discussed how many companies use Big Data and Predictive Analytics to obtain information about their customers to be similar to this reading. First, in the article it stated, “the merchant is more than ever required to capture and hold the attention of potential customers” (pg. 2). This is important because many if merchants stopped doing this, customers would be “bored” of the company and may lose interest. Once interest is lost, the company can deteriorate. Therefore, merchants/companies have found a way to keep their attention from their customers. Collecting tons of data and information about their customers can help the company focus more on what the customers’ needs and wants are. Retrieving this data helps companies “evaluate the users, namely by considering their ‘tastes’ and their ‘favorites’”(pg. 3). Online shopping has become incredibly popular over the years. Fortunately, this allowed companies like Target and Amazon to use big data and predictive analytics to obtain an abundance of information about their customers, and provide them with substantial amounts of suggestions to improve the companies’ revenues. In the Data Analytics class, I remember learning Amazon’s tactics for making suggestions to their customers. They are able to do so by seeing their customers’ first purchases, and then looking at their second purchases. By gathering this information they are able to give recommendations/suggestions to their other customers. For example, if a person bought a history book, and then bought a jazz CD, then the next person who buys a history book would be given a recommendation to buy a jazz CD.

The information you provide a website/company with is valued at what you get for exchange. To further explain, when you provide a company with your email address, home address, phone number, etc., you are exchanging all of that to receive 10% off your total purchase. However, it is important to keep in mind that that exchange for 10% off your purchase is extremely small to the company because they are gathering most, or even all of your information. 

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Not only do sites like Amazon provide recommendations/suggestions to their customers, but other sites can also show certain items they’ve looked on the Internet on the side of their Facebook page. I remember the first time this happened I thought it was extremely creepy because I was like “woah, how did they know I was looking at that shirt earlier. However, I realized that it was quite intelligent to get people’s attentions, because it definitely got mine. Afterwards, I realized that I could just log off of my Facebook, and shop online without worrying that Facebook will have an ad show up with the pair of shoes or the shirt I was looking at earlier. This reminded me of a scene from the show Parks and Recreation when Ron was on his computer and was agitated and somewhat nervous that his computer had an ad with his name in it. Fortunately, April was able to explain that his Cookies capture all this, and that is how the ads are directed towards Ron.  

 

Sources:

Images: http://relevance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Big-Data-Elephant.jpg

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP7ebyqBn_M

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