Finding Meaning in the Social Firehose

Kin Lane, May 17th, 2012

APIs serve up a lot of valuable data and resources, but the most valuable API currency right now is social data, and specifically public data from Twitter.  APIs are essential in not just accessing this social data, but also delivering meaning extracted from this firehose of social data.

While Twitter has a streaming public API available for anyone, only a small number of companies actually have access to the full stream of Twitter’s firehose, and access to historical Tweets, because accessing Twitter at this level is very costly in three ways:

  • Gaining access
  • Technology and expertise to consume
  • Technology and expertise to process and abstract meaning from

One of the companies with access and the resources to consume, process and abstract meaning from the Twitter firehose is PeopleBrowsr.  PeopleBrowsr enables anyone to find influential people based on their datamine of hundreds of billions of social media conversations from the full Twitter firehose since 2008, public Facebook posts, 40 million blogs and forums, and other sources.

The new PeopleBrowsr Kred API provides a programmatic way to find meaning from real-time social data in four distinct ways:

  • Finding influential people on any subject or within communities connected by shared interests or affinities by considering influence, outreach, RT influence, and followers, while emphasizing interactions and connections over follower count.
  • Deep Analytics providing author-based analytics which include a summary of anyone’s social presence, historical scores, reach, friends & followers, and location-based data.
  • Action Analytics that provide aggregated social data metrics for any keyword, hashtag or @name, including mention counts, word clouds and hashtag clouds, with the capability to filter by community, location, keyword and bio keyword for any time range down to a minute-by-minute basis.
  • Global Kred Score that provides a single unit of measurement for influence in online communities that are connected by interest.

As a developer, my instinct is to want full access to any dataset for maximum control.  But in a world of APIs I like the idea of being able to access abstracted layers built on top of big datasets, that derive meaning for me, by really smart people who spend their days deeply understanding this data.

APIs are enabling a really fascinating new layer of resellers who are able to derive meaning from the social firehose, package up this meaning into a new product, and make available to developers via a new API interface, deriving entirely new products from the existing social firehose.

Photo by US Navy

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