Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dreamforce turned my head!!

 I don't often have the chance to get out of my academic bubble - so when I was invited to join the Radian6 team them at Dreamforce - I jumped on the opportunity!

I was given the chance - to speak in front of an audience from practice - not students - god forbid! - about how social media listening can transform how universities interact with prospective students, alumni, and fans.

I'll save the content  of the conversations  for another post - because I need to ruminate a bit on those - in this post, I want to focus on what I learned at #DF12...

1. Social CRM is transforming large, medium , and small organizations. Leaders who have used social to communicate with their stakeholders are realizing real competitive advantage from participating in authentic conversations about their products and services.

2. Industry needs workers who are trained to think deeply about strategies for deploying social in organizations.  A skilled "social"workforce will know more than how to use communicate -  it will understand the ecosystem of resources, skills, and analytics neccessary to elicit value from social media and strategies.  To fill the workforce gap, academics need to bridge marketing, communications, and computing disciplines to create the "social worker" of the future.

3. Academics and industry need to interact - to learn more about how to effectively leverage social across public, private, and non-profit organizations.  In many ways, industry is leading academe in developing tools and strategies for deploying social media strategy - however, academic research can contributre insight in many ways - from providing rich explanations for why images evoke more responses from tweets to explanations for why messages go viral across platforms.

I learned more through hanging out and meeting the folks who are shaping the "social ecosystem" in four days than I could have in a year of reading - it was truly an amazing experience!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tigers for Tigers

Since 1997, Clemson students have worked to preserve the future of wild tigers. With just under 4000 tigers left in the wild, Tigers for Tigers works to create awareness universities and coordinate tiger preservation efforts across the world.  To do so, they are partnering up with the Global Tiger Initiative.

So how can social media help with that effort? In cooperation with our students, the global tiger initiative, and kids from my neighborhood, we constructed searches for conversations around tiger preservation on the social web.  We drilled into five issues:
  1. Tiger facts
  2. Locating Tigers
  3. Tiger tourism and economic development
  4. Preservation
  5. Poaching
We are using these searches to surface images of wild tigers in popular society, to visualize the locations advocates for tigers, to identify potential trafficking in tiger parts, and to understand how citizens of 'tiger countries' talk about tiger preservation in their own voices.  

We are leveraging the command center to visualize the location of the conversations, identify influencers, evaluate sentiment, and think about the timing/share of voice of pro vs anti preservation conversations.

I'd just one example of how social media analytics can contribute to advancing not only the social enterprise ... But also the human enterprise of building a better global society!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You won't find us on Facebook ...

Where you won't find my students!
Fall is here, students crowd the sidwalks, and another semester begins ... Football is in the air ... Even though I am a year older, the students stay the same - smart, young, and a bit nervous about the real world.

In chatting with the my students, I learned that Facebook is for their parents, that they stalk each other on Instagram, that Pinterest is still sort of cool, and that they are acutely aware of privacy (but they still don't like Google+) ...

Twitter seems to be evolving as the medium of choice for private conversations ... Change is in the air ... and I suspect that it always will be for businesses that engage in social media....

Oh, and you never ever hear tell of  Flickr ... or Bebo ... or Myspace ... Ping ... or Pair ...

I'm looking forward to a semester of conversations about how the social enterprise can, and is changing, the world ... I suspect that by December, the students will have transformed my view of social and its implications for the world.

Monday, August 6, 2012

SMLC finds a winner in Eureka!

Eureka! Brings students to campus to work with faculty and graduate students for a month. It's unique in that the student hss not yet enrolled in classes - they are tabula rasa - a smart blank slate having their first Clemson experience!  We wanted to get a fresh set of eyes in the lab to glean a new view on the power of social media listening.

The SMLC landed the smartest student in the Eureka! Program to work on a summer project visualizing social conversations around the congressional elections.

Jim Burleson, Jim Bottum, Jason Thatcher,
Kaci Bennett, Dustin Atkins
The Summer Social Media Listening Team!
Kaci Bennett spent July hanging out around our lab thinking about how to effectively search and visualize around the election.  With some help from Jim Burleson and Dustin Atkins, she drilled into the congressional race in Florida's 22nd Congressional District, found that absent geocoding it is difficult to capture the full conversation about the race, and that while political scientists often say all politics are local, denizens of the social web view local politics through the lens of the national race.
Along the way, we like to think that Kaci learned alot about how social media is transforming society - through learning to use the Marketing Cloud!

Kaci also used Piktochart to create a really cool infographic based on her listening to the election!

Our team wishes her the best as she moves forward in her Clemson experience!  We also wanted to thank her parents for letting Kaci share time with us - in her final summer before leaving for college! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

SMLC powers US Computing Olympiad team learning...

In June, Brian Dean, Associate Professor of Computer Science, brought some of the smartest high school students in the United States to the Social Media Listening Center for a visit.

Our Olympians suffered through this fat old professor pontificating on how social media presents opportunities for computer science - to not only make a few bucks BUT also to extend understanding of the human condition.

The Olympians weathered a rapid fire discussion of how tools like Radian6 enabled analysts to glean meaning from big social data, listened as I rambled on about issues tied to aggregating data across multiple APIs, and feigned interest when I explained what real-time analytics means for business.

Then, I did the demo - and the Olympians really did get excited.  For some reason - the kids really dig cows - maybe more than the US computing olympiad? - we built a search that included terms ranging from moo to bessie to where's the beef... cows ... cows ... and more cows ... I am still trying to figure that one out :) ...

The Olympians left happily chatting about social its connection to computer science.  I was left feeling optimistic about the future of computing in the United States.  Those kids are smart!

Later in the week, the Olympians used data pulled from that Radian6 API to visualize their own conversation cloud around computing - check it out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fox Carolina runs "Is Pinterest Just for Girls" Piece...

So, where we left off, we posed the question of is "Pinterest Just for Girls" to a class of Clemson undergraduate students.  The class composition was 90% male, mostly active in intramurals, testosterone filled, and mortified to be required to use Pinterest for three works for homework.  For our debrief, Dana Wachter of Fox Carolina turned up & filmed the class discussion - you can find the article here.

The class had a strong, laughter filled, negative response to assignment.   Unanimously, they reported the assignment made them uncomfortable.  Unanimously, they reported that they had learned something about their friends and technology by doing the assignment.

Some kids relayed that they'd inadvertently used their Facebook login to register for Pinterest ... which had resulted in them posting to their wall each time that they'd posted pictures ... which resulted in their "friends" commenting not on their post ... but more on why was a guy using Pinterest?

One student relayed that his friends harassed him for doing the assignment - so much so - that he changed course midway through - and posted "macho" content about cars etc.

Another student relayed that the second the assignment was graded ... he was taking it down ... because a lot of misconceptions were emerging about him, as a result of his activity on Pinterest.

Yet another student relayed that every student should have to suffer through what he'd suffered through ... because you learn alot about how not to use technology.

After 45 minutes of rancorous, laughter filled, misbehavior, we finished the debrief with three conclusions.  First, Clemson Athletics would not be able to use Pinterest to recruit male athletes - in fact - one student went so far as to assert that we'd lose prospects if Dabo Swinney created a Pinterest page (now there would be the real Pinterest challenge.  Second, Pinterest had real commercial potential as a portal for pushing folks towards information and products - if you knew your audience well.  Third, a student group was going to take the next step and use Pinterest as the enabling technology in their group project.  The irony?  Team Pinterest included some of the absolutely biggest haters of Pinterest :)

Stay tuned!  More on this later!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Clemson Students are Wicked Smart with Radian6

So, a group of my kids in creative inquiry just rocked my world.  They're beating the snot out of the market using Radian6 to predict Forex.  Here is the abstract from their project!

Kudos to the kids.  I need to turn over my retirement account to them!

Here is their abstract for the project:

Forex, the foreign currency exchange market, is very similar to Wall
Street’s stock market, except instead of measuring the health of
corporations, Forex gauges the welfare of countries and their
respective units of currency. Through the broker,, an
American adult (i.e. an 18-year-old college freshman) can run some
day-trading experiments with real money on a 50:1 leverage. By
observing the graphs of the currency value fluctuations, one can
conjecture as to which currency in a pair will dominate in the near
future and attempt to profit on it. After some intense research and
crude experiments in 2011, a practice account was opened with TD
Ameritrade in order to dissect the trend between the Forex market and
Twitter posts. In particular, the fluctuations of the EUR/USD pair
were scrutinized, and models were fabricated in order to turn the
Twitter feed into a consistent profit.