"social data" entries

Mining the social web, again

If you want to engage with the data that's surrounding you, Mining the Social Web is the best place to start.

When we first published Mining the Social Web, I thought it was one of the most important books I worked on that year. Now that we’re publishing a second edition (which I didn’t work on), I find that I agree with myself. With this new edition, Mining the Social Web is more important than ever.

While we’re seeing more and more cynicism about the value of data, and particularly “big data,” that cynicism isn’t shared by most people who actually work with data. Data has undoubtedly been overhyped and oversold, but the best way to arm yourself against the hype machine is to start working with data yourself, to find out what you can and can’t learn. And there’s no shortage of data around. Everything we do leaves a cloud of data behind it: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ — to say nothing of the thousands of other social sites out there, such as Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, you name it. Google is doing a great job of mining your data for value. Why shouldn’t you?

There are few better ways to learn about mining social data than by starting with Twitter; Twitter is really a ready-made laboratory for the new data scientist. And this book is without a doubt the best and most thorough approach to mining Twitter data out there. Read more…

Social data intelligence in the enterprise

An interview with Susan Etlinger, an Industry Analyst at Altimeter Group

Strata co-chair, Alistair Croll recently introduced me to Susan Etlinger and indicated that “Susan is the smartest person I know on the collision of enterprise and social data.” Susan is an Industry Analyst at Altimeter Group and an upcoming speaker at Strata New York 2013. She is also the lead analyst on the new report, Social Data Intelligence: Integrating Social and Enterprise Data for Competitive Advantage. She put aside some time to answer a few questions about the study and provide insights into social data intelligence.

Why did Altimeter Group decide to conduct this study?

Susan Etlinger

Susan Etlinger

Susan Etlinger: During the past year, we’ve seen growing evidence of social media proliferation throughout the enterprise. My colleague Jeremiah Owyang did a study earlier this year that found that the average enterprise-class company has 178 social media accounts, while a total of thirteen different departments—from marketing to customer service to HR, Sales and Legal—all engage in social media. That’s a substantial investment of time and resources.

I’ve been researching how the enterprise measures the business impact of social media for several years, and the sheer scope of social media proliferation made me curious as to how broadly organizations were using the data generated by social media platforms. After all, social data carries signals related to business opportunities, risk and threats, customer experience, top and bottom-line financial performance, and brand reputation.

Given the proliferation of this data throughout the organization, I wanted to look at whether companies were viewing it in the context of other enterprise data. And, if they weren’t, why not?
Read more…

Data is the real business model for social

IBM's Marie Wallace on the unrealized potential of social data.

As social media websites gather ever-growing data stores, they might be better served by finding ways to make profitable use of that data instead serving ads as their chief means of raising revenue. While the data might give them the information they need to serve more targeted ads — although in my experience they still have a ways to go with that — the real value in the site could be the data itself.

Of course, if social sites start selling data to the highest bidder that leaves open questions of data ownership and privacy and finding ways to strip personal identifiers.

Marie Wallace (@marie_wallace) is social analytics strategist for the IBM Collaboration Solutions division. She has spent more than a decade at IBM working on content analytics, and her experience uniquely positions her to address questions regarding big data, social media and analytics. Our interview follows.

Social media’s real value might not be in selling ads, but in the data they are collecting. Why do you think that is?

Marie Wallace: The reason ad targeting has worked so well for search is because it’s aligned and supportive to that particular activity; when I am searching for information about products or services I am happy to get ads that may help direct my search. Ads are somewhat analogous to a value-added service and social search makes the ads more personalized and relevant, which is why Google has invested so heavily in Google+.

The key is that in most cases ads only work in a search-like context, however with most social media sites people are not going there to search. They are going to converse with friends and family, which makes ads interruptive and frequently invasive. This is further exacerbated by mobile, where limited real estate makes ads even more offensive as they are distracting and clutter the screen. Social search is one example of a service that sits on top of social data, but there are a whole plethora of other services that social data can drive — from market research to consumer/brand engagement, social recommenders, information filtering, or expertise location. Read more…

Strata Week: Machine learning vs domain expertise

Debating the data skills of machines and experts, a key data move for Microsoft, and Google Analytics gets social.

This week's data news includes another look at the Strata Conference's debate about machine learning versus subject matter expertise, Raghu Ramakrishnan moves from Yahoo to Microsoft, and more social data comes to Google Analytics.

Social network analysis isn’t just for social networks

Social network analysis (SNA) finds meaningful patterns in relationship data.

The scientific methodology of social network analysis (SNA) helps explain not just how people connect, but why they come together as well. Here, "Social Network Analysis for Startups" co-author Maksim Tsvetovat offers a primer on SNA.

Social network analysis isn't just for social networks

Social network analysis (SNA) finds meaningful patterns in relationship data.

The scientific methodology of social network analysis (SNA) helps explain not just how people connect, but why they come together as well. Here, "Social Network Analysis for Startups" co-author Maksim Tsvetovat offers a primer on SNA.

Google+ is the social backbone

There's a lot more to Google+ than a challenge to Facebook

Google+ is the rapidly growing seed of a web-wide social backbone, and the catalyst for the ultimate uniting of the social graph.

Parsing a new Pew report: 3 ways the Internet is shaping healthcare

Key trends from the Pew Internet and Life Project's health information survey.

New research from the Pew Internet and Life Project sheds light on how online users are gathering and sharing health data. Here's a look at three important trends revealed in the survey.

With sentiment analysis, context always matters

Matthew Russell on the limitations and applications of sentiment analysis.

Though sentiment analysis is subjective, Matthew Russell says using transparent methods and keeping the data in context are keys to making it an effective tool.

4 SXSWi themes reveal the story within the story

Constant connectivity, mobile's next act, the rise of data science, and privacy's implications were dominant trends at SXSWi 2011.

The 2011 South by Southwest Interactive festival offered a reflection of what's to come, with hyperkinetic socializing, pervasive connectivity and an interest in communicating at the right time, not just in real time.