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Using Information Visualisation to uncover gems in Social Media?

January 26, 2010

Marketers are trained to understand the customer and social media has become a wonderful
playground to fulfill this purpose.
Let’s look at how information analysis and visualization can help.

I will pretend I’m a knowledge and information Expert (which I’m not) and summarize a discussion I had lately with a marketer

“Are tag clouds useful?” – asks a Marketer

“Sure” – I answered.

“By showing what’s important in a very concise manner, it helps you find your way to what’s most relevant to you” – “It’s a navigation/organization tool”

“But in order to understand, you need more”

“Why do I care?” – asks the Marketer.

“Because we, human beings, have 2 basic communication needs (amongst many): To find something and to understand or study that same thing. As marketers, you are trained to understand the customer.” – I replied.

To find something, we use signals like right, left, here, there, behind.
One signal at a given time is enough.
Applied to information, those signals will be the most frequent words found. Many ‘one world’ makes a tag cloud.

To understand something, we use a combination of signals: A sentence made of  several verbs, nouns, adjectives…The meaning will augment as more words are combined together.

At eCairn we believe in expression clouds, as clouds of multiple words which helps discover patterns of meaning. Indeed we have the algorithm to produce expression clouds from a set of highly relevant conversations taking place in social media communities.

eCairn has many examples to share so here is one:

  • Community = Beauty Blogger in the US (~600 bloggers – 40k conversations over the past 6 months)
  • Topic = Anti-aging (4k conversation over the past 6 months)

And here’s the corresponding tag cloud:

Clearly the expression cloud offer more meaningful information which can be reused for messaging as it represents the essence of the conversation as seen through the eyes of its beholders (the community).

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