The value of social media data is not in data itself, but the interpreter and the use

Tim Kourdi’s comment about the value of information, in my latest blog post, reminded me of an interview with Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey. Jack challenged criticism that the physical constraints of the platform (specifically, the 140 characters limit for a message) would lead to shallow, value-less content being shared. He did acknowledge that the limit would lead to a very particular type of message being shared: namely, users leaving instantaneous ‘marks’ rather than saying ‘the right thing’. Yet, he felt that those short, instant marks had value, too. He said:

‘It is all up to who receives the message… we can’t judge the value as it goes out. We have to leave it up to the individual to really bring value to that message, to that tweet’.

The full interview is available here, and the excerpt that I am referring to here:

Jack’s comments resonated with me for two reasons.

First, the recognition that the characteristics of the platform shape the conversations that you have – not just the length of the messages, but also (or, even, more importantly) the topic of the messages. This is extremely relevant for those mining social media data, for instance for sentiment analysis.

Second, the value of data resides not in data itself, but in what the interpreter does with it. Value in use, rather than value in availability.

I am doing some work in terms of valuing social media data, and I am very interested in hearing testimonials / examples of gaining (market / consumer / competitive) insight via social media data. Can you help?

2 thoughts on “The value of social media data is not in data itself, but the interpreter and the use

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