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Twitter Bots Abound

September 23, 2014

Quartz grabs our attention with its headline, “Twitter Admits That as Many as 23 Million of Its Active Users Are Automated.” These accounts, which automatically request updates and may or may not also auto-post, include “users” like third-party data-display apps. Reporter Zachary M. Seward writes:

“The new disclosure was an attempt to clarify an earlier statement (pdf) that 14% of MAUs access the service outside of the official website and mobile apps, by using Twitter’s API. Twitter’s update today specifies that the 14% figure ‘included certain users who accessed Twitter through owned and operated applications.’ Those are likely TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac, which are favored by power tweeters but, for technical reasons, aren’t counted in many of the company’s official statistics. The company said only 11% of MAUs accessed Twitter from applications that the company doesn’t own, like Tweetbot or Flipboard.

“To be clear, automated accounts aren’t necessarily spam accounts, which according to Twitter make up less than 5% of MAUs. Bots can be useful, even essential, accounts for many Twitter users. But once they’re set up, they don’t usually have any humans behind them, which matters greatly to advertisers who are interested in reaching potential customers.”

Seward maintains that Twitter should be concerned for its advertisers (itself included), who may feel they are pouring ad dollars down a black hole. I’m sure they can work out some equitable fee structure(s). We wonder, though, what the implications are for high-value content that attracts interested readers.

Cynthia Murrell, September 23, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Incorporating Twitter Sentiment Analysis into Trading Software

February 21, 2014

Thomson Reuters has added Twitter sentiment analysis to its Eikon subscription trading platform. Sorting tweets into positive and negative messages based on proprietary language-processing technology, the feature meets the demands of a growing number of traders.


According to Matthew Finnegan’s story “Thomson Reuters Adds Twitter Sentiment Analysis to Eikon Trading Terminal” for Computerworld UK, the analytics tool will show users the volume of both positive and negative messaging relating to specific companies on an hourly basis. Thomson Reuters’ Chief Technology Officer Philip Brittan stressed that the information will be used primarily for research, not a basis for trading decisions.


Since there have been instances of fake Tweets influencing markets, the caution is probably justified. But the power of social media’s unstructured data cannot be denied, and Eikon is attempting to harness it for subscribers:


“…the Eikon sentiment analysis aims to also make it easier for humans to quickly make sense of masses of social media information currently available, with tens of thousands of tweets about major companies each day.”


It’s one more way we see social media emerging as the dominant media force of the 21st century.


Laura Abrahamsen, February 21, 2014


Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Twitter Improves Search Capabilities Adds New Filters

February 17, 2014

The article titled Gets New Search Filters for News, Videos, and People You Follow on TNW pronounces that Twitter has improved search (a little bit.) In sum, Twitter’s search will now allow its users to search in the categories of photos, videos, news, people you follow, and locations. This is certainly meant to make search easier on its users. When it comes to sorting through the millions of Tweets, it might come in handy to have more specific filters. The article explains,

“Twitter revealed the new features today with a tweet, but it’s not clear exactly when the filters began rolling out. Earlier filters let you specify whether you were searching for photos or people. The official iOS and Android Twitter apps got new search filters last November. Twitter’s Advanced Search feature still exists for those who need the extra search operator functions.”

The announcement tweet read, “We’re bringing new filters to search on ? : by videos, news, people you follow, and more.” This small change might not be the most exciting innovation in search, but the article does express some interest in the new ability to weed out irrelevant tweets when searching for something read earlier in the day.

Chelsea Kerwin, February 17, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Big Twitter Upgrade

December 7, 2013

Twitter revamped its apps for Android and iPhones the other day, says Business Insider in the article: “New Twitter App Features.” The upgrade comes after Twitter decided it wanted its users to find content a lot easier and direct messaging has been altered as well. Twitter made the strategic decision to incorporate TV Trends into the app.

It has been tested over the summer and adds a new level of interaction between users:

“The basis of the TV trends section is that you can chat about your favorite show with other fans but that seems to be about it. All you need to do to access it is head to the “Discover” section of the app. Enter the trending option and head all the way down to the bottom. After that, you can talk about it various elements of either “American Horror Story” or “Late Night with David Letterman.” This is where filters come into play since each sub-section only posts the most prominent tweet.”

Timelines now flow into the trending section with the most prominent trends displayed. Filters also work in this section by providing insight into local areas, events, and conversations when you adjust the parameters to find local content.

Twitter has added another sophisticated layer to the social tool. Researchers can use it to discover trends in actual real-time as well as connecting people on a more local level. It does contribute to the privacy invasion factor, kind of creepy if you ask me.

Whitney Grace, December 07, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

An Analysis of Deleted Tweets

November 7, 2013

It is only human to wish we could take back hurtful or embarrassing words. On the other hand, it is tough to search for information that is no longer there. University of Edinburgh researchers have been looking into the motives behind deleted Twitter missives, we learn in Digital Trends‘ piece, “New Research is Revealing What Tweets Get Deleted—and Why.” You can see the study as a PDF here.

Not surprisingly, a particularly rich field for deleted tweets lies in the political realm. Writer Kate Knibbs tells us:

“Nicko Margolies, projects coordinator for the Sunlight Foundation (the organization that runs Politiwoops) says that they’ve noted a number of reasons politicians have chosen to delete their tweets. ‘The ones that we find most interesting are the situations where politicians change their position on something or craft their language into a message others are using. This is often seen through popular hashtags or talking points that many politicians echo to their followers, bringing the issue (and their position) to the forefront of the digital conversation,’ he says.”

Of course. The team says, though, that public figures are not the only ones concerned with how their 140-words-or-less may be interpreted. They found that many reconsidered tweets contained curse words. In what I suspect is a related finding, they discovered people are more likely to delete tweets very late at night.

Tweets containing sensitive information like social security numbers or email addresses are also more likely to be removed. Knibbs sensibly wonders whether such deletions increased after revelations about NSA surveillance came out, but that information is not available. She hopes other researchers take up the topic of deleted online postings because, she says, what we choose to redact reveals much about online behavior. Such studies could even prompt us to pause before we post something we’d regret. Maybe.

Cynthia Murrell, November 07, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

How New Media vs Traditional Media Fares on Twitter

November 5, 2013

We caught an intriguing finding in a Social Times article recently. The title of it sums up the point nicely: “The New York Times Gets More Mentions Online than Mashable.” The majority of the piece is shared through infographic form, a clear nod to new media. Digimind, a SaaS social media monitoring and competitive intelligence company produced the infographic.

One of the ways the data is presented is through the fact that old media is nearly 3 times more likely to be mentioned on Twitter than new media.

Digimind states in a quoted blog post:

“While our love for social platforms may be strong, we still rely heavily on media stalwarts, and the numbers back this up. The infographic reveals that “old media,” which includes The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, make up 72 percent of share of voice in total, while The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Mashable make up only 28 percent.”

Is it readership numbers that are important or is it engagement data that matters? Ironically, a traditional media outlet has received more engagement via mentions that a new media company. The New York Times remains a winner! And that seems to be the best direction we could be going in, based on the word cloud from the new media side related to the government shutdown where Ferris Bueller is presented as the concept with the most mentions.

Megan Feil, November 05 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Beyond Search

Top New Social Sites and Why Facebook is no Longer Hot

September 16, 2013

According to the recent article “Facebook Usage is Changing – So Which Online Social Activities are Growing?” Facebook is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead of utilizing social networks that are tied to their real-life identity, today’s teens are flocking towards other networks that allow them to use pseudonyms and avatars.

Some of the hot new social sites that are taking the world by storm are: Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and (of course) Twitter.

The article explains why Twitter was included in the list, and how it differentiates itself from Facebook:

“There’s some evidence that Twitter is becoming more popular, with usage among teens doubling in the past year. Twitter might seem a bit stuffy, like one of the established social networks, but it has much in common with some of the upstarts. Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t demand your real name — you can use anything you like as your Twitter handle. You can then engage publicly with other people about topics of interest or set your Twitter account to private and have your tweets visible only to your friends, although most Twitter usage is public. You don’t even have to send your own tweets — you can follow other accounts and just view them.”

As with everything in technology, what’s cutting edge today is inevitably going to be old news tomorrow. With this in mind, its no surprise that Facebook is losing its momentum. I wonder if they, like Twitter, will find new ways to stay relevant.

Jasmine Ashton, September 16, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Beyond Search

Taming the Analytic Fire Hose of Twitter

July 24, 2013

If anything, Twitter is less a social media portal and more of an informational fire hose. The data that comes barreling through that outlet has been a horse no digital cowboy could break. However, we are starting to see promising signs of tools to do just that, according to a recent All Twitter article, “FirstRain Unveils First Tweets, Bringing Curated Twitter Intelligence to Sales Teams.”

According to the story:

FirstRain’s FirstTweets bills itself as ’the world’s first solution for extracting business-relevant Twitter intelligence for sales, marketing and senior leadership teams.’”

The product filters out 99.9% of the Twitter fire hose to deliver only the most relevant Twitter intelligence directly into businesses’ CRM software and social enterprise platforms.

As anyone who’s used Twitter before, especially on behalf of a large brand, knows, it can be incredibly time-consuming to weed through hundreds of thousands of tweets to determine which to respond to, which accounts to cultivate relationships with, and what’s being said about your business on an hourly basis.

We are really excited to see this in action. However, we are cautiously optimistic. We’ve seen too many other social media analytics opportunities not live up to the billing. However, if FirstRain can pull it off, this will be on everyone’s wish list.

Patrick Roland, July 24, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Beyond Search

Little Big Data Analyzed to Glean DOMA Ruling Response on Twitter

July 22, 2013

The article titled What Twitter Had to Say About Doma and Prop 8 on Lexalytics attempts to break down the social media sites statistical response to the Supreme Court rulings handed down on Wednesday, June 26. According to the blog, about 180,000 tweets were posted on Twitter in response to the rulings, and of those tweets twice as many were positive (about 43%) as negative (about 19%). The article explains why this may be slightly misleading,

“As we can see more clearly here in our top themes, some of it is just the wording. Tweets including words such as “Good riddance” are scored by the software as negative, although they obviously aren’t feeling negative about the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings.

The themes “equal liberty”, “same-sex marriage”, and “marriage ruling” are swayed by more technical discussions of the Supreme Court’s actual rulings. “

Even stranger to those interested is the idea that only 180,000 tweets can count as Big Data. Isn’t Big Data supposed to be about terabytes? This seems like a junior sized portion. The article does take care to note that the sample can in no way be called representative of the general population, taking into account that only a small percentage of the general population even uses Twitter.

Chelsea Kerwin, July 22, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

Twitter Shortcut for Search Results Related to Products and Services

July 13, 2013

The article titled How to Find People Asking For Your Products Or Services on Twitter on Market Intelligence offers a simple tip that might yield results for certain services. Typing –http ? “Keyword” into Twitter’s keyword search will discover the stream of search results for any given keyword. The article explains,

“Imagine you are a company selling cosmetics and are launching a new face cream. By entering the query -http ? “face cream” into Twitter search, you will see a stream of all people who mentioned face cream in a tweet… The first girl is asking for suggestions for a night time face cream. Do you offer a similar product? If so, hit reply and send her your recommendation.”

The article goes on to look closely at the first few hits, noticing that, (voila!) one of them is a blogger who might write about her interaction with the face cream touted on Twitter. I imagine in real life this would take a lot more combing through inane and irrelevant posts. Whether or not it works when the product or service is not popular on Twitter, or even non-existent, is not mentioned in the article. Perhaps this advice is aimed only at mainstream services, making it, like Twitter, useful to some, but useless to many.

Chelsea Kerwin, July 13, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

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