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Albeit “old news”, I wanted to write a piece about the way Datasift’s PYLON for Facebook Topic Data will transform the social data analytics landscape when it arrives in full. That’s perhaps not the most gripping of intros, but read on, it’s only a short post and the end is really good…

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DataSift’s PYLON technology is powering this new opportunity.

In my experience, Facebook was one of the most awkward places to gather any form of audience insight (other than from your own fan base which you could plug into a tool like Sysomos to analyse). A few open Facebook pages would also be scraped, but in general you didn’t get much back.

If you wanted to get an understanding of the wider conversation on social media (i.e. beyond your own communities) you’d be looking at Twitter, blogs, forums and anything else social listening tools could get their hands on. Obviously it was still very useful, but it felt like you were only getting part of the picture.

(Incidentally this also led to a pet hate of mine; when a social listening report would tell me Twitter was the most popular social network for conversations about topic XYZ… as if that would ever not be the case when Facebook was effectively not accessible! #RantOver).

Now, fast forward to the near future and (as I understand it), we’ll be able to query Facebook data in all manner of ways. Yes there will be limitations – privacy control being key – but suddenly Facebook looks like the place to be for social data insights. It won’t be possible to look at individual mentions, but that shouldn’t be too big an issue as it’s usually the theme or trend that’s much more interesting anyway.

There are some excellent blog posts by Pat Pruchnickyj from DataSift (their PYLON for Facebook Topic Data solution is driving all this). He outlines some of the technical setup and use cases for this new data set.

For me, two impacts that immediately spring to mind are:

  • If a social media or insight manager has been looking to justify increased resource/budget for social data analytics – this is pretty darn good.
  • If organisations are thinking about selecting a new social analytics tool – you probably want to make sure they’re at the Facebook Topic Data party.

It will be interesting to see exactly what the final solution looks like, but from my experience “on the coal face” it looks like a pretty big deal. From the DataSift website it appears that Sysomos, Pulsar and Synthesio are the social analytics providers who will currently have access.

For those that endured to the end of this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts (on PYLON for Facebook Topic Data)…


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