The publicly available Social Media data is a cluster of data sources within the vast “Data Universe”. It is huddled right next to polling data, news data, and other human behavior and sociology datasets. While substantial in size, it is far from the largest dataset out there. However, if there were a prize for the most interesting dataset, it should be given to Social Media. It is there that we find, for the first time in history, a dynamic interactive representation of human society. Not only can we “listen” to what the humanity has to say, but we can also reply. We can talk with humanity. Moreover, this conversation has been increasingly powerful in shaping humanity’s future.
It is no wonder then that Social Media Analysis has revolutionized sociology, marketing, communications and many other sectors of human activity. And these are still the early days – there remain many potential applications to explore. Indeed, the data is so rich and diverse that it offers nearly endless possibilities to discover interesting questions and answers, as well as to impact the public discourse. No matter what your domain of activity, you’d most likely learn something useful from Social Media Analysis.
Some object that Social Media is not sufficiently representative. While no data can perfectly represent the complexity of human society, and some care should be taken in analytic methodology, this is in no way a handicap. Social Media is sufficiently mainstream to capture the major forces impacting society. Furthermore, people expressing themselves on social media represent not just their individual views, but also those of their close circle, thereby extending even further its already wide coverage