One of Roald Dahl’s many fantastic short stories is “The Great Automatic Grammatizator”, written in 1953 it tells the story of a machine that could write fiction. As I recall it, the machine could churn out books at a phenomenal rate and would incorporate feedback on what proved popular into its future works. We are not quite in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) fiction yet, but human data is playing an important part in…

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Curse of the Keywords

Kester Ford 24th August 2015 0 Comments

Almost a year ago now the people of Scotland were deciding whether to become independent from the UK. At the same time, the Bank of England (the UK’s central bank) were trying to determine whether a “yes” vote would trigger a run on Scottish banks. They decided to try and do this by analyzing social data from DataSift. You can read all about their methods, findings and recommendations on using social data for predicting real…

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Tomorrow the UK goes to the polls to decide which parties will form the government for the next five years. The BBC is not alone in calling this the “first social media election”. Which may seem odd as many gave that tag to the 2010 general election as well. When you look back at 2010 though, the impact of social media – both the efforts of the parties and the comment from the electorate –…

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Is Your Pride Harming Innovation?

Kester Ford 20th April 2015 0 Comments

In a previous post, I wrote about the ethical and legal risk faced by businesses processing personally identifiable information as part of a Big Data program. These are not the only challenges facing companies that want to garner insights from social data, there is also the question of infrastructure. Infrastructure is one of those things that most CEOs and CMOs don’t like to think about – a necessary evil with problems that can be fixed…

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Marketing Lessons from the Muppets

Kester Ford 6th April 2015 0 Comments

It’s a brave person who thinks they have nothing to learn from the Muppets. Today’s lesson comes from that Sesame Street stalwart Cookie Monster. When he first discovered cookies his mantra was “Me want cookie! Me eat cookie! Om nom nom nom”, but as time passed Mr. Monster changed his stance and now sees cookies as a “sometime snack”. Marketers are on a similar trajectory to the furry blue character, if a little behind. Web…

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If you saw my earlier blog posts on PYLON for Facebook Topic Data you will know how PYLON works and what you can do with it. But what is it that you get with topic data that makes it so valuable to brands and marketers? Essentially there are five key capabilities that are available in PYLON that make topic data unique in the marketing industry. Here I will explain what each of these are and provide some sample CSDL code…

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I started at DataSift a couple of months ago and have just taken my first trip to our San Francisco office. I was lucky enough when I was in town to get myself one of the hottest tickets in Silicon Valley – a place at F8, the Facebook developer conference. Enjoying the sunshine of the city’s marina and mingling with some of social tech’s finest, they weren’t the toughest two days of my career, but…

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Data Protection Around the World

Kester Ford 26th March 2015 0 Comments

We all have an expectation of privacy, but each person’s expectation differs. Whilst some are perfectly happy to open-up on public networks like Twitter, others rail against targeted advertising. Some people see the actions of the NSA and GCHQ revealed by Edward Snowden as an appropriate measure to prevent terrorist atrocities, others would rather the government didn’t read all their emails. These differences are not confined to people, there are many different privacy regimes around…

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Many businesses dream of a market-wide 360 view of their target audience. The dream is that the business can collect enough information about every potential customer through social media, website analytics and customer interactions, that they can model every possible scenario. In this hypothetical world of “total data”, the brand can determine who will be interested in their new product, who is fed-up with a competitor (and coming to the end of their contract), which…

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Use Cases for Facebook Topic Data

Kester Ford 17th March 2015 0 Comments

In my last blog we looked at how PYLON works and how developers can use it to create insights from the billions of posts and engagements that take place every day on Facebook. Getting insights from topic data Now that you know the basics of how PYLON works with Facebook topic data, we’ll look at what you can do with it. Your index will contain what your target audiences are saying on Facebook about your…

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