Dion Hinchcliffe: The Future of Social Analytics


Dion Hinchcliffe

Dion Hinxchcliffe is speaking on the future of social analytics.

  • Social analytics is the creation of typed signals by listening to social ecosystems, resulting in the ability to tap into collective intelligence as well as aggregate, mine, and predict outcomes.
  • Observable works - transparency for people's work. Getting value from what's observable. Reminds me of Jon Udell's comments from early blogging days about narrating your work.
  • Social is how we communicate today. As of last July, 850M using social systems vs 800M using email. Most companies are not here yet. I was speaking to Yammer folks at lunch. Kynetx is a Yammer customer and it cuts down on our email volume considerably. We don't have much Kynetx email. I wonder if startups tend to be more social communicators.
  • There are hundreds of public social networks. This leads to fragmenting. There are dozens of internal social channels.
  • All of these social trends are increasing social visibility. Social interactions no longer "evaporate." Modern tools keep linkable, searchable information.
  • The social universe is a single continuum between employees, partners, customers, and the entire world. All of them might use different channels and tools, but we need to see it as a continuum and gain visibility into it.
  • Organizations routinely purge old email for legal and space reasons, but we're starting to realize this isn't always a good idea.
  • Knowledge workers spend 20% of their time looking for information they need to do their work.
  • Organizations that adopt social tools widely see the amount of data skyrocket after several years leading to management headaches.
  • "Information overload is not the problem. It's filter failure" - Clay Shirky
  • The people who share their work in organization become the go-to people. They are recognized as contributors.
  • Our information landscape is now measured in exabytes. We don't want to delete information, but handling the volume is a real problem.
  • Tell me about information shadows. What's the shape of the data? How does it look in aggregate? What does it mean? We don't need to directly see all the information.
  • First step is to listen. This is better than crawling and analyzing everything up front. Here the signal. It's the real-time web.
    1. The first filter is the lens of your social capital. Social networking has made your social capital formal. Cultivate it. It's the surface area upon which you can affect change.
    2. Filter 2 is what you care about. Keywords are a early way to do this. Hashtags on Twitter. What's new, important for me.
    3. Filter 3 is what you don't know to ask for. The information you want may find you. Serendipity.
  • We need to build, personally and for our organizations, a listening capability that tells us what we need to know. Optionally we might also build a capability to react to this flow--an engagement process. How do we acquire new capabilities. We often gather information but fail to look at it.
  • Personally we'll listen in our social environments on our personal devices.
  • We will use strategic tools to automate, to scale on aggregate social capital. Generally for businesses. He mentions Friendwheel on Facebook.
  • Strategic tools are in their infancy, focus on the outside world, strongly favor new social environments, have limited analytics abilities, don't connect to existing reporting tools well, and are relatively expensive. They also don't exist where you expect them.
  • Listening and graphing are easy. Analyzing is harder. Requires a deeper understanding of what you're listening to. Needs semantics to be effective.

One of the themes that seems to be developing at Defrag is one of filtering the information flows. Of course, my take is that filtering is a start, but it's not enough. We need to act on the filtered data. When you change "filter" to "event" you get a bigger, more complete, more sophisticated model for solving the problem.