We joke that Facebook can hear us as we go about our day, but the reality is much different. These companies don’t need to listen in to learn about our habits, preferences, and activities—it turns out, we’re predictable.
All talk of SkyNet aside, it can be a good thing to find out our preferences drive much of our experiences online. Social media data mining offers a wealth of quality data for businesses trying to reach us and researchers looking for quality data to improve our quality of life. If you’re a data scientist, you probably fall into one of those two categories, so here are five excellent reasons you should be using social media data mining.
First, what is social media data mining?
We put a lot of information on our social media. Algorithms can scrape social media sites to aggregate data and uncover trends before they become trends, identify behavioral patterns, and make connections where we may have missed them before.
Data itself isn’t new, but the ability to process big data is. Machine learning and cognitive technologies can analyze vast quantities of data outside structured, consistent forms—an ability perfect for the wild language landscape that is social media. As these technologies become more sophisticated, we can learn more about human behavior than ever before.
5 very good reasons to add social media mining to your toolkit
Social media offers real-time data for insights into what’s happening now and what shaped those events.
1. Spot trends as they’re becoming trends
Social media data mining can spot trends before they become trends, thanks to techniques like social listening. Data scientists can analyze which mentions, topics, and keywords are trending and apply mining techniques to understand the context of why.
A notorious example of this is SimplyMeasured’s analysis of Twitter during the contentious 2016 election cycle. The company found that mining social media produced a more accurate prediction outcome for the election than traditional methods. That’s right—Twitter did a better job predicting Trump’s win than the established polling system did.
2. Watch events unfold in real-time
Event detection offers another excellent reason to use the technique. By mining social media mentions, researchers and government entities can map major disruptions as they happen through heat mapping or similar techniques. They can monitor emerging situations and understand context more quickly than using traditional sensor methods.
Because many users post using a cell phone, this lends real-time, up-to-the-minute quality to event detection. As users share information during catastrophic events or civil and social movements, organizations can respond more quickly.
3. Provide relevant content (and squash spammers)
Spam and bots are an annoying reality of an online presence, but so is irrelevant information. Social media mining can help organizations personalize interactions with consumers and minimize spam activity.
This concept could save people a lot of time and frustration while online. Companies can leverage social media heat mapping to understand micro-trends and reach out to potential customers. Social media platforms themselves can squash spammers and fake accounts more efficiently.
4. Support research
Quality data can be tough to find. Quality public data? Even harder. Researchers can leverage social media mining to conduct research since social media offers a vast public data repository.
Social media’s data magnitude can be applied to fields like tech, healthcare, and social science. Researchers can also take an active role on social media to find suitable participants, gather opinions, and conduct “citizen science.”
5. Understand behavior
While on the surface, humans may seem random, we are predictable creatures. Social media mining analyzes us at our most real and raw, uncovering the context of behavior even through the sheen of our online lives. This offers a unique look at what it means to be human.
Businesses use this to understand customer behavior. Government can use it to customize and adapt services. Organizations can use it to find their target audience, and researchers can shed light on seemingly out-of-nowhere events. In each, social media data mining helps us draw connections between events we may have missed.
Train in Social Media Data Mining
Social media is a wealth of information available for free to the public. Data scientists can analyze this type of big data using sophisticated mining techniques and could contribute to some of the greatest questions of our time. Whether it’s voting preferences, disaster response, or why mom jeans are back in style, you’ll have tools for handling this complex analysis.
You’re intrigued; we know. It’s time to find out the best techniques for analyzing social media—text analysis, sentiment analysis, and other natural language processing methods. ODSC is offering a four-hour immersive training with Dr. Minerva Singh this December 14th, “Web Scraping and Social Media Mining for Text Analysis and NLP.”
Students will receive hands-on training with a question and answer opportunity and a recording for later. Register today for a limited time only price.