Social Oracles as Advertising Tools in Programmable Businesses

Social Oracles as Advertising Tools in Programmable Businesses

Nick V. Flor (University of New Mexico, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 37
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-372-2.ch001
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A social oracle is a particular kind of software agent that outputs social information. The information provided by a social oracle is typically for entertainment purposes and not necessarily genuine. But irrespective of the veracity of its information, a social oracle can also be a highly-effective, virtually no-cost advertising tool for businesses. This chapter analyzes the use of social oracles as advertising tools in one of the largest community forums on the Internet:, which is also a special kind of business known as a programmable autonomous business. Using representational analysis techniques from the field of distributed cognition, the chapter argues that social oracles are effective advertising tools not because they provide entertaining social information, but rather because they are based on common social processes where individuals freely share information with one another. By mediating the communication of such processes with information technology, they can be adapted into low cost, direct-response advertising mechanisms. The chapter concludes by outlining how processes similar to those underlying social oracles can be adapted into product oracles for advertising the products of more conventional (non-programmable) businesses.

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