If you had asked me about online focus groups only 12 months ago (interestingly, no one did), I would have said that I didn’t think they were a very good idea.
Online focus group research seemed to be a relatively technology driven practice, rather than there being any real synergy with the way people communicate (which is ironic, given that this business is about understanding people).
And I’d always thought of online focus groups within the real time context. Apart from researching real time focus groups themselves, I can’t see the benefits of conducting a group online in real time.
The stress of getting participants to ‘turn up’ and log in at the same time, the fight for text time (what if there are slower typists?), the moderator’s unenviable task of trying to keep track of it all, on the hop, maybe missing a beat and missing the whole point...I really don’t get it.
My opinion of real time online groups hasn’t changed.
But look out. Here’s the silver and very magic bullet: over time online groups.
Next time I blog, I'll explain why.