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Unveiling videos: Consumer-generated ads as qualitative inquiry

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Abstract

Companies spend millions of dollars researching consumers, consumer attitudes to brands, and consumer uses of products. Yet the irony is that consumers are now doing this research themselves and posting their material to video-sharing sites such as YouTube. In this paper we argue that the BASIC IDS framework (Cohen, 1999) for dimensional qualitative research can be used to deconstruct consumer-generated videos to yield valuable insights into the paradoxes of consumer–service interactions. One category of service that has gained huge media attention of late, and yet is poorly understood, is the phenomenon of online social networks. Using three consumer-generated ads about the social networking site Facebook, we explore the paradoxes of consumer–service interaction, namely consumers' ambivalent attitudes to the service, how the consumer uses and is used by the service, how the service both facilitates behavior and changes behavior, and how the service mediates social interactions yet drives social actors. Finally, we locate the findings in terms of the wider context of Gen Y and the digital revolution, specify limitations, and cite implications and avenues for future research. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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