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Making Sense Of Social Media Data: Visualization Is Key

Recently, I have been increasingly focusing on how health organizations can use the reams of information available to them via social networks, blogs and other social technologies for business critical purposes.  While the concept of mining online data is well established, many are still having trouble linking this information to business processes.  Specifically, there is a lot of room for improvement in how this data is being used by the health industry to:

-Help executives answer questions that impact business over the long term

-Accelerate decision-making

-Predict outcomes -- especially as they relate to marketing communications initiatives

I believe that successfully utilizing social media data requires one to visualize information  in order to quickly identify trends and highlight insights.

Fortunately, there are many tools available for executives seeking to visualize data.  One that I have been using recently is Many Eyes.  One can map qualitative and quantitative data to identify overall social media trends in real time.

Given that the Health 2.0 conference is currently underway, I decided to cull content from a number of blog posts about the event and analyze them in order to get a better sense of what people are saying about it.  Using Many Eyes, I put together a word tree that associates key words and phrases with the term "health 2.0." 

The word tree I developed appears below.  I'll be discussing information optimization more in the months to come.




3 Comments/Trackbacks

Hi Fard,

completely agree on the power of visualization! On that note, you might enjoy this video from Hans Rosling:

I like the tool you suggest. Unfortunately, I could not visualize your word tree example. Only the tag cloud worked :-(




I'm sorry you couldn't view the word tree. If you wait a bit, the word tree loads up into the image.



Great idea for a visualization! My current favorite visualization is the "A word about debate impressions" created by my colleagues at the Pew Research Center:

"In the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press (conducted among 1,505 adults, including 1,258 registered voters, by landline and cell phone) registered voters who watched the first debate between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama were asked what one word best describes their impression of the performances of each of the candidates for president...The single word most commonly used to describe Obama, was "confident." ... For McCain, far more voters mentioned "experienced" than any other word."

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