When you think about charts and data, “hilarious and witty” are most likely not your first thoughts that come to mind. Big data is all around us – why not make it easy on the eyes? We recently had the pleasure of spending some time with Jason Oberholtzer, blogger for Forbes and co-founder and curator of the popular Tumblr and published book, I Love Charts. As an Internet culture maven and charts junkie, he let us in on how he turns raw data into witty visualizations, the data sharing revolution, and of course, the I Love Charts’ journey from Tumblr to a Nation-wide selling book.

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If you believe the hype, tonight’s U.S. Presidential debate is either a crucial tie-breaker that will determine the outcome of the elections or it will have absolutely no impact on voting day. No matter what the outcome or how the candidates perform, you can be sure that social media will be buzzing with reactions and new memes just like after the last three debates–and analyzing those reactions will provide an endless amount of information.

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Your social listening, engagement, marketing, and customer support initiatives – and beyond them, a range of emerging, social-infused business processes (that is, every process that involves people) – require clean, complete, well-structured, and reliable social data. If you’re already a DataSift customer, you surely agree, but if you’re not yet convinced, poke around the DataSift site a bit and I’m sure you will come around.

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Join us tonight for the 2012 Debates Social Pulse, the first ever, real time, minute-by-minute analysis of social sentiment for presidential candidates as the debates happen and beyond.

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Today, we’re rounding up some of the top Social Data stories on the Web that you might have missed. From the government, to politics to customer targeting, the potential for using Social Media to derive insights is seemingly endless!

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Last week, we attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in San Francisco, where Rob Bailey, our CEO, discussed the seven measurable actions that further your company’s marketing and social media efforts. In addition to providing a framework for moving your company’s efforts from beginner to pro, Rob highlighted companies who are thinking strategically about social media, such as Taco Bell, Burberry and KFC.

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Since announcing DataSift Historics earlier this year,  we’ve been overwhelmed by the response and demand. From companies building social media monitoring tools, to finance firms building models for sentiment-based stock trading – the ability to build a big picture of the market from social Big Data is an important compass for companies that want to understand customers better and make smarter business decisions.

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Here at DataSift, we’re lucky to work with some amazing customers who are innovating in social to create the next-generation of social applications and platforms. NeedTagger is a great example of a company that is transforming what marketing means in the social-era. We caught up with Vernon Niven, CEO and founder of NeedTagger to learn more about his company and why intent marketing is taking marketing back to the basics by making social media “social”.

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It’s hard to believe it’s only been six months since I joined DataSift as CEO and we launched the company in the U.S. Since then we’ve grown from just a handful of customers in the U.K. to more than 250 corporate customers in over 20 countries. The list includes some of the top social media monitoring companies, business intelligence and news organizations and a growing list of Fortune 500 companies. Given my six-month mark at the helm of the company, I thought I’d share not only a few of our milestones, but highlight the trends and demand we’re seeing in the market.

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Today we’re excited to announce Wikistats and add Wikipedia to our ever-increasing list of data sources for our social data platform. Through Wikistats.co, DataSift provides a real-time insight into the trending articles on Wikipedia in the last 24 hours. Just as we identified the most popular stories on Twitter when we created Tweetmeme, Wikistats is another great showcase of what’s possible with DataSift’s Social-Data platform.

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