I'll include links to recent experiments at the end of this post. These links show me using SayZu "word clouds" to illustrate what's being said on Twitter in my locale.
This current SayZu-generated image is part of a series of surveys I'm doing on the "sustainability conversation" in our larger region. What you're seeing is a picture of the top 200 words recently used in Twitter posts ("tweets") in a region with a 160km radius, with my location in Courtenay, BC as the centre. The key search word was "sustainability," in part because I'm curious about what people are saying; in part because of work I'm doing with sustainability and conservation organizations in the region.
What does this image tell you about how people are talking about "sustainability" in our part of the larger Vancouver Island region? A number of things, especially as I've been watching it change over a few months. What's different about this image is the emphasis on "food." Not news to me now, as I manage a very popular Sustainable Food Vancouver Island page on Facebook. But it was news to me when I first launched the FB page. That was about 18 months ago, and there are now almost 1400 members. Now their interest and concern is starting to show up on Twitter, as this SayZu image tells me.
What's a "dynamic cloud?"
What else does the image tell me? I'd have to drill down on my interactive SayZu image to find out. And that's what's cool: I can look at the image, make some hypotheses based on size and place of the words, then check those hypotheses by looking at the actual conversations.
This means that besides being able to scrape geo-local Twitter streams, RSS feeds, blogs, etc SayZu also allows me to put the word-images (and the numbers they represent, the raw data) into a human, real-time conversational context. Yes, it's great to see that – hypothetically – "food" is used in the context of the keyword "sustainability" at least 2x as often as any other word. But by looking at the actual tweets that use both "food" and "sustainability" I can get a sense of what is really being said. Right now. By people in my region. This is useful information if I'm trying to market something – products, services, ideas, political candidates, a new restaurant or menu item, or the importance of smarter/better land use planning, for example ;-)
Analysis that's more than just numbers
Most analytics are purely numbers-based: numbers of visitors, page views, bounce rate, RT's, "mentions," etc. You're still left guessing what the larger context of these numbers is, what they mean for real people in real-time. By providing a word-based visualization, SayZu starts to get underneath the numbers by giving clients a sense of what the real-time online conversation is about their business, organization, local government, or region. As with other McAllister-Research.com services, it's a form of "mapping the global mind," in this case, with very specific geo-local application. SayZu is also a cool tool for stimulating conversation.
Want more than simple number-crunching in your analytics tool-kit? Want to add some punch to your social media strategy? Be in touch in 2011.
And, on a lighter note...
Here's what SayZu found on Twitter in my locale when I searched for "New Year." No surprises. But fun, nonetheless.
Thanks again to Angus McAllister for the special licensing agreement I have with McAllister-Research.com. This lets me develop client-centred online engagement tools that are pretty cool (it also lets me experiment and play with SayZu for my personal projects). Happy New Year!
december 30, 2011