Here is the one criteria you should use to select a product that collects social media data: time to insight.
Time to Insight defined: How long does it take me to get the information I need to exercise judgment? After that, it’s up to governance models and my degree of empowerment to do something about it (or decide not to do something about it, as the case may be). I can control how long it takes to get to that point. Whether I am dealing with a crisis, working on a campaign, troubleshooting, looking for sales leads…you name it. Give me the info I need, in a form I can use and trust, when it’s useful to me. And that can happen IF I have the right tools at my disposal.
Annnnnnnnd we can pretty much end this post here.
Great analysis by my former Nielsen colleague Dave Martin on the implications of Google’s move into market research.
Interesting article in this week’s The Atlantic on the birth and evolution of microtargeting:
All of these online movements contribute to what Gage calls “data exhaust.” Email, Amazon orders, resume uploads, tweets — especially tweets — cough out fumes that microtargeters or data brokers suck up to mold hyper-specific messaging. We’ve been hurled into an era of “Big Data,” Gage said. In the last eight years the amount of information slopped up by firms like his, which sell information to politicians, has tripled, from 300 distinct bits on each voter in 2004 to more than 900 today. We have the rise of social media and mobile technology to thank for this.
But I think the response from GigaOm is equally thought-provoking:
Finding the why answer matters, though, especially if you’re in the business of trying to convince people to buy products or vote for you. You need to understand what really drives them. And as we move away from telephone and in-person surveys toward web-based sentiment analysis, it might get more difficult to find out. A marketer can’t just email someone and say, “I’ve been tracking your online activity (that’s how I got your email address), and I noticed you’re a Diet Dr. Pepper-drinking Republican. Why Diet Dr. Pepper?” We have to figure out ways to find answers to obvious questions that we can’t just ask.
All these neat patterns in data remain just that until you turn a connective thread into an arrow. It’s the difference between a fun fact to whip out at the bar and a proof point for a business meeting.
I’m excited to tell the collected internets that I have decided to join the team at NetBase. I’ll miss my team at Porter Novelli, but the top-secret stuff I’m here to do was mind-bendingly awesome enough to tear me away. (The PN Strategic Digital Analytics team will be coding this post as Sentiment: Mixed)
The only changes here will be disclosures when competitive issues come up and access to new sources of data. And potentially lighter posting if I am too busy circling back offline providing actionable social business intelligence to shift paradigms into Web 3.0 (by putting birds on things).
There was a nice assortment of articles in today’s Times worth sharing.
I’m not sure how I managed not to share his original blog post, but the Times has just caught up on Mathematica inventor Stephen Wolfram’s quest to quantify his life. I feel like he and Nick Felton (aka Feltron) need to join forces for the good of humanity. Felton’s data is presented in a more easy to grok visual style, and it comes from the approach of human relationships and not just vast longitudinal data series.
It’s not clear that anyone has thought hard enough about what measurements are actually worth taking, and how quantifiable they are. What if the goal of a school is to teach its students social justice and not a trade? The inscription on the gates of my alma mater reads: ”They only are loyal to this college who, departing, bear their added riches in trust for mankind.” What units do you use to measure that? Number of protests organized? Probably not.
Finally, there was an interesting pair of articles on the values and limitations of algorithms that I happened to read back to back:
I was in an airport desperately trying to catch up on my Twitter stream when I saw the news that Visible Tech is buying Cymfony. I remember a period in 2009 where Cymfony seemed like it was outflanking my then-employer Nielsen Buzzmetrics on tons of opportunities, and Visible kept us from gaining much traction within Microsoft. And then suddenly in 2010 all these market researchers and marketers fed up with Cymfony started switching over and Microsoft’s Looking Glass was edging out of the realm of vaporware. But other than their appearance in a 2010 Forrester report (with an update from Zach Hofer-Shall here), I haven’t heard much from either of them, bar getting a Visible demo in my role at Porter Novelli. If Visible had any traction within the agencies of Omnicom, IPG, or Havas before, WPP’s bigger ownership stake will probably dampen it. The holding companies will not want to risk having the rug pulled out from under them. I know some really smart people at Visible, so hopefully this either removes looming uncertainty and doubt, or gives them a kick in the pants to do something even more awesome.