The Global Source for Social Media Researchers

SMRA Blog 

  • 2 Feb 2019 7:28 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    This is a great tool for B2B marketers to engage and learn from. Great new Linkedin feature. 

    By: Andrew Hutchinson@adhutchinson

    Jan. 31, 2019 TWEET

    With LinkedIn currently seeing 'record high levels' of engagement (LinkedIn recently reported that the number of updates viewed in LinkedIn feeds has jumped 60% year-over-year), the professional social network has this week launched a new initiative to help marketers maximize their content performance, by highlighting the most popular, most engaging LinkedIn Publisher posts each month.

    Called the 'Water Cooler', LinkedIn will publish a new listing of the most popular Publisher posts from the previous month, starting with the top posts in December, which is as follows:

    1. Be the Spark By Diane Fennig
    2. 5 Books I Loved in 2018 By Bill Gates
    3. Your Most Important Assets Aren’t Your Clients; It’s Your Employees By Brigette Hyacinth
    4. Black Woman Named Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Making History By Teddy Grant, Black Press USA
    5. Happy Employees Are More Productive. As Simple as That! Agree? By Oleg Vishnepolsky
    6. The World’s Most Successful People Don’t Actually Start Work at 4 a.m. They Wake and Work Whenever the (Heck) They Decide, By Jeff Haden, Inc.
    7. What I Learned at Work This Year By Bill Gates
    8. Warren Buffet Says You Should Hire People With These 3 Traits, but Only 1 Will Point to a Truly Successful Employee By Marcel Schwantes, Inc.
    9. When People Ask How You Are, Stop Saying ‘Busy’ By Robert Glazer
    10. Leading From Hurt Versus Leading From Heart By Brene Brown

    Along with the listing, LinkedIn will also include notes on what marketers can take away from the listings to help guide their own on-platform content approach. 

    "The articles attracting the attention of LinkedIn members have two common threads. First, LinkedIn members engaged with articles about company culture. The top article in December, “Be the Spark,” examined the power of gratitude at work. Other articles in the top 10 showcased employees as crucial assets, celebrated diversity and pondered empathic leadership. Second, LinkedIn members engaged with articles featuring advice from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, which indicates business professionals are always looking for ways to improve themselves and the companies they work for."

    The latter point is probably less useful - two of the top ten most engaged with posts were written by Bill Gates, and every post Bill Gates writes will likely garner a lot of attention. You can't get Bill Gates to write for your company - though the 'lessons from Warren Buffet' post (number 8 on the list) points to a potential opportunity to utilize the knowledge of leaders within your own content in order to boost attention.

    As noted, LinkedIn engagement is increasing, and with the platform's recent change to its algorithm to ensure more voices are heard, the opportunities to reach your LinkedIn audience are greater than ever. That's not to say all your LinkedIn Publisher posts are going to 'go viral' (remember when LinkedIn first launched its Publisher platform and every post saw massive reach?), you will need to stick with it, and likely weather a few average performers as you go about posting. But by using the Water Cooler as a guide, and implementing a consistent LinkedIn posting strategy, you could reap significant benefits.    

  • 23 Jan 2019 12:35 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Phycology Today published an article a few years back on, "Facebook Personalities. Which One Are You?" In the article the author identifies the following personality types:Voyeurs, Informers, Me Mees and Evangelists. This study was based on what people posted and the frequency of posts. It did not include comments made on friend's posts, what they "liked" or how many friends they had. While this study is certainly a glimpse of human behavior, I would go one step further to say that a person's friend list can be even more revealing. Many times this reveals much more than most people think it does.

    In fact, a new study from researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide found that they could predict a  person's posts on social media with 95 percent accuracy -- even if they never had an account to begin with. When you think about it, it makes sense. No one ever asks you whether or not you posted anything about them in social media; they just post.

    But, let's dig even deeper. If a friend of yours uses an app in Facebook that allows them to upload their contact list, then your data may be part of that upload, even if you don't have a profile. So there are some real privacy concerns within the social network, as we have seen in the media last year. The loopholes have allowed for a lot of social media targeting for marketing and advertising purposes. This is something that we hear about all the time and most people understand they are going to see sponsored content based on their profile demographics. This is why consumers don't pay for subscriptions. We get that.

    However, we are getting to a point where more and more people are searching Facebook to learn more about a new neighbor, a volunteer, a potential employee or someone you just started to date. To make it more interesting, let's use the dating scenario. If I were single and began dating someone, I would look them up in social media. Not only would I look at his profile, I would also take a good look at who his friends are. Many times who you hang out with in your free time says a lot about you. Do you enjoy heavy drinking every weekend? Are you religious? Are you a Democrat or Republican? What do they stand for? You get the idea! We have all become very good at "stalking".

    Social media investigations have become very important in tracking down criminals of all kinds over the years. With the help of robust software platforms, one can identify a lot about a person and even zero in on their whereabouts.

    On the flip side, criminals can steal your online identity as well. Entrepreneur magazine just published, "Why Googling Yourself Is Not Just for Fun Anymore." It reveals some startling statistics:

    "There are real-world consequences to what’s out there about you online, even if you had nothing to do with it. It may surprise you to learn:

    33 percent of Google search results are influenced by other individuals of the same name

    20 percent of people find outdated or flat out inaccurate information

    12 percent are “unpleasantly surprised” by what they find, though it may not be necessarily incorrect

    8 percent unfortunately find embarrassing or reputation damaging information"

    So reputation management is not just for business anymore. We must all take an active role in our own reputation management. Have you ever had online identity theft? Do you Google yourself on a regular basis?

  • 14 Jan 2019 9:49 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    8th of January 2019

    Michalis Michael The Future of MR

    social media research

    As one would expect, social media intelligence (or just social intelligence) came up as a subject at the “Social Intelligence World” conference in London back in November 2018. More specifically, it came up in the context: how does it differ from social media listening?

    This question took me back several years, when we published our first eBook about “web listening”, our label of choice at the time which was a buzzword; its most popular version was “social media monitoring”. Social media intelligence did not come up at all back then, albeit in hindsight it is odd that it didn’t. I am not sure how we missed it then, but now, when someone asks what is the difference between intelligence and listening, the answer seems quite obvious!

    Social media listening or social media monitoring is simply about harvesting the online posts and maybe even annotating them with a topic and/or sentiment. If the annotation is accurate then it answers questions like ‘what are people talking about online’ or ‘how do they feel about my brand’? Social intelligence on the other hand, is about understanding the deeper meaning of what people choose to post - although sometimes there isn’t one - and link it to a business question; notice how the term ‘actionable insights’ has not come up yet? Another buzzword that is overused in the market research sector, and another one for which we published numerous blog posts with our own - very concrete - definition of what it really is!

    When we say ‘social media’ in this context we don’t just mean social media platforms, but rather any public online source of text and images which might express consumer or editorial opinions and/or facts. A side note: things would be a lot easier if we meant what we say in a literal way. People who coin phrases or titles or headings tend to take a lot of freedoms on the altar of “crispness” or “snappy creativity”!

    listening247 - an aspiring state-of-the-art DIY SaaS looks at the world of social intelligence via four lenses:

    Source (verb)




    We would be remiss if we didn’t mention text and image analytics as a standalone discipline when the source is not social media or other online sources. In such a case the only difference is that the source is not the online web but any other source of text and images. Perhaps if the source is not the online web it should just be called Business Intelligence, which is an old and very familiar discipline within organisations.

    Back to the 4 modules, they have the power to generate intelligence derived from unstructured data - which make up 80-90% of the human knowledge, produced since the beginning of time. Structured data which are effectively numbers in tables or graphs only account for 10-20% of all our knowledge as a species.


    Unstructured data can be harvested from the web and if we want to stay out of jail we will stick to public data (as opposed to private conversations or personal data). They can be harvested through APIs that the sites which contain the data make available for pay or for free, and through scrapers which can crawl a website and find specific consumer or editorial posts. Responses to open ended questions in surveys, transcripts of focus groups or even call centre conversations are also great sources of opinions and facts (i.e. unstructured data).


    In order to make sense of big unstructured data, machine learning is a good place to start. Supervised machine learning requires humans to annotate a big enough sample of the available data. The annotated data-set is then used to train a machine learning algorithm to create a model that does a specific job really well; the aim is to get over 80% relevance, precision and recall. Unsupervised machine learning is making great strides but cannot replace the supervised approach currently.


    Once we have a trained model and our data-set we need to process the latter and annotate it in its entirety. The data can be filtered and navigated in many ways. Structured data can be produced in the form of tables, making the analysis of the data-set possible. The goal here is of course to enable human analysts to uncover actionable insights - since machines are not there yet.


    Data visualisation is typically done on dashboards or PPT presentations. The most appropriate types are drill-down and query dashboards. There are multiple delivery mechanisms and use cases, e.g.

    Annotated data via an API

    Access to an online or offline dashboard to interrogate the data

    Executive summaries and periodic reports

    Email alerts

    Fixed dashboards for war-rooms

    Social media intelligence has multiple use cases for multiple departments as shown in the list below, annotated as multipurpose ‘intelligence’ or specific ‘actions’:

    Market research: find out how customers think and feel about products and campaigns (intelligence)

    Advertising: use positive posts as testimonials or ideas for Ads (action)

    PR: amplify positives and appear to have good answers to negative comments, brand ambassador communities (action)

    Customer Care: respond to online comments (action)

    Operations: fix customer reported product issues (action)

    Product development: discover new product trends, missing product features (intelligence)

    Sales: identify sales leads based on expressed purchase intent (action)

    The many departments involved and the many use cases ultimately create a confusion as to who the owner should be within an organisation. Maybe Social Intelligence should simply be part of the Business Intelligence or the Market Research department, offering custom user interfaces to the various action players with only the information they need specifically to take action.

    Having a Business Intelligence or Market Research Department is a privilege reserved only for large organisations. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs or SMBs) that do not have a business intelligence department a different approach and possibly nomenclature should be employed; but this is the stuff for another blog post. In the meantime let us know where you stand on all this by emailing us or tweeting to @DigitalMR.


  • 2 Jan 2019 4:49 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    By: Barney Cotton, Author at Business Leader Magazine 

    At the SMRA we have discussed how social media data can be used in business due diligence prior to an acquisition. I find this article interesting in that it may be used in part for investment decision making.   

    Alternative data is becoming the new normal for investors, with 79% of traders currently using if for investment decision making – that’s according to Dataminr’s ‘The New Data Paradigm for Traders’ report.

    Social media is a prime example of an alternative data source, one which gives investors a competitive edge allowing them to capitalise on the insights.

    But with a plethora of alternative data sources and the use of social media data, how can traders marry together data sources to find the right real-time insights that will set them apart from competitors?

    With that in mind, Business Leader spoke with VP at Datamir Ed Oliver about the report and the sector as a whole.


    Dataminr is a real-time information discovery company that generates alerts on activity across multiple, publicly available sources, such as social media, blogs, information sensors and the dark web. Relied on 24/7 by thousands of clients in over 70 countries worldwide, it is providing individuals with insights and context on breaking events, giving them the opportunity to make more informed decisions.

    As a company, Dataminr has pioneered a groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology that identifies, classifies and determines the significance of real-time information, and delivers relevant alerts to clients across the Finance, Corporate Security, PR/Communications, News and the Public Sector.


    We live in an always-on world, dominated by social media and driven by data. This means anyone with a smartphone can report real-time information to a global audience, breaking major news before anyone else. This is the biggest change the sector has seen in recent years.

    However, the public information landscape does have its limitations; it’s difficult to pinpoint where or when relevant news will break, and targeted keyword searches or well-curated feeds can easily miss the mark. The key is the use of a trusted source that can push relevant information through a sea of online noise and provide early, reliable and differentiated insights.


    Looking to the future, Dataminr will continue to evolve with the opportunities that real-time information brings to our clients, whilst we continue to expand our global client footprint. We will continue exploring public data sets from multiple sources o discover breaking events across the world. Ultimately, we’d like to remain at the front line of real-time information awareness, ensuring that people have the knowledge they need to act with confidence.


    By definition, alternative data is any set of data that is outside of the traditional data stack for financial services. Traditional data is market data, pricing data, volume data for different asset classes, earnings reports, press releases, economic data that comes out on a scheduled basis, etc. Another way to think about traditional data is data that is effectively scheduled or is announced on a regular basis.

    For traders, alternative data really adds an additional layer of increasingly critical information to their workflow, providing a new level of understanding of what’s going on in the market. Very often, alternative data can explain movements in the market. In other cases, alternative data can effectively give you a heads up before the market moves.


    There are a few ways, but broadly alt data allows traders to see a more complete picture. You’re not just seeing pricing data. You’re not just seeing information that’s being sent by official sources — via press releases, by corporations, by a government department releasing data — but you’re also seeing information coming from a variety of unique and differentiated sources.

    Asymmetry of information creates advantage. The magic is in being able to connect the dots among unique pieces of information to identify the moments that matter, derive insight, and then make better decisions. Alternative data can inform a real-time trade or a strategy. Often traders will have a thought or a view in the market and will build a strategy based on that view. By leveraging alternative data, traders gain a new layer of information and can confirm or adjust strategies in real time, with the right tools.

    Finally, alternative data can help traders mitigate risk and more fully understand the impact of events as they occur. For example, on February 14, 2018, South African President Jacob Zuma resigned when faced with a motion of no confidence in Parliament. The timeline of the events that ultimately lead to Zuma’s resignation began as early as February 7th when Dataminr updated clients to rumours around the pending resignation and then again when Zuma confirmed his resignation nearly seven days later.


    There are many. There’s social media. There are other types of web-based data, like blogs or even retail sites. There are information sensors — essentially the output of devices that detect and respond to some type of input from the physical environment. There is satellite information and credit card data. The range is pretty broad. The value depends on the use case. Not every type of alternative data set is right for every investor. And often, it’s the combination of data points that leads to great insights, and where the ability to truly differentiate trading strategies comes into play.


    I think the biggest challenge is that there’s so much data out there right now. It’s almost unlimited, and it’s hard for traders and firms to, first, capture it all and, second, gather insights in that massive sea of data. Creating some structure to these generally unstructured data sets is not always easy, and then once it’s structured you still have to make it useful and find what matters.

    Another challenge is integrating this information into existing workflows. A particular data set may seem interesting or may seem valuable on the surface, but without the ability to incorporate that data into the existing workflow the value is more limited.


    It really depends on the type of data. Dataminr provides a tool that alerts our clients to information that they care about from within complex, unstructured data sets, by effectively providing a “tap on the shoulder.”

    We do that via our web-based platform, real-time emails, pop-ups on your computer, as well as a mobile app. We offer a number of different ways so clients can pick the best delivery mechanism for themselves and to also make sure that they don’t miss information at critical times.


    Three years ago, the conversation really centred around “what is alternative data”. Now people understand the variety of alt data sets, and the dialogue has shifted to how to use alt data effectively.

    For example, recent research from EY showed that over three-quarters of hedge funds currently or expect to use non-traditional data to support investments. Furthermore, research from Greenwich Associates has shown that alternative data spending is expected to increase in 2018 for both hedge funds and asset managers, with 74% of hedge funds planning to boost their alt data spending in 2018.

    Over the last few years, there have been a wave of large hedge funds hiring teams of data scientists and developers to find value in alt data. I think that’s really key right now. Firms are exploring how to use these data sets for alpha, for edge, for situational awareness and for risk mitigation.


    One of the best examples that we see is in the energy space. We’ve had a number of cases where a group of individuals saw a refinery, or some sort of gas installation, have a major disruption, like an explosion or fire.

    They saw it, then they posted about it on Twitter, often with pictures or videos. A great example of this is the Husky Energy oil refinery explosion in April 2018. Roughly 20 people were injured after a tank exploded at the Superior, Wisconsin oil refinery. Dataminr first alerted clients to the blast via an eyewitness who shared a photo from on the ground.

    These posts were surfaced by Dataminr and delivered to our clients ahead of major news, giving users a time advantage before it affected the markets. We also see a lot of macro stories being broken on social media. After Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as chief of the country’s new treasury and finance ministry in July 2018, the Turkish lira fell nearly 4%.

    Dataminr alerted clients to the event ahead of major news by surfacing a scoop by a local reporter. Social media and other public information platforms can be very powerful ways to broadcast an event.

  • 19 Dec 2018 12:34 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Is your social media strategy strong? Are you gaining new followers every day? Are your customers engaged? If you don’t know the answers to these questions you probably need a better handle on the data you are collecting. Measuring the success of your posts is a critical component of social media marketing. It's important to check your analytics regularly to spot trends and see what's working.

    "Without this, you may be catching red flags too little too late or missing massive opportunities to better your audience's experience on your social," said Marissa Heckman, organic social project manager at Power Digital Marketing. "Every data point is an opportunity to better your social strategy."

    To determine what analytic is most important to your business, you need to define your social media objectives, according to Ryan Sweeney, director of analytics at Ignite Social Media. If you're trying to raise brand awareness, impression is the most important. If you want to build a community, engagement is the measurement to look at. If your goal is to drive users to your website, you should pay attention to traffic and conversions.

    Regardless of your social media strategy, the vast amount of data available can be overwhelming. Here are some important terms to know for social media analytics.

    Actions on page: The number of clicks on your business's contact information and call-to-action button.

    Engagement: Total number of times someone has interacted or engaged with a post. Engagement is one of the most important metrics across social media platforms because it shows if people are interacting with your posts.

    Followers: The number of people who see your posts on their timelines.

    Impressions: The number of users who saw the post.

    Page likes: The number of people who like your page. People who have liked your Facebook page see your posts on their timelines.

    Page views: The number of times your profile page has been viewed.

    Post clicks: Any clicks on the entire post. 

    Post reach: The number of people who had any posts from your page on their screens, broken down by total, organic and promotions. This is one of the most important analytics.

    Facebook Insights

    Facebook Insights is free to all business pages. It's designed to help you understand your audience and how they interact with your posts. Insights shows a snapshot of your profile analytics, including page views, page likes, reach, post engagements and information on your recent posts. Heckman believes engagement is one of the most important metrics on Facebook because of its newsfeed algorithm. "If you are not receiving engagement, your content will barely ever appear to your audience," she said. "If that does happen, consider a creative refresh, messaging refresh and boosted budget." You can find engagement both on your overview tab and posts tab. The posts tab shows analytics on each of your posts, including the date it was published, its reach and engagement. The other tabs provide more information for promotions, followers, likes, reach, page views, page previews, actions on page, events, videos, people and messages.

    Twitter Analytics

    Twitter Analytics is a free program available to every Twitter account that analyzes your tweets and followers. The analytics homepage shows high-level statistics such as number of tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and followers. This page also highlights your top-performing tweets and potential influencers. This overview is helpful because you can quickly identify strong tweets and tweet impressions, which Heckman says is the most important measurement on Twitter. "Tweet impressions allow you to see your reach on Twitter," said Heckman. "If your reach is low, consider your own Twitter outreach strategies to increase your presence and impressions." The next page is your tweet activity dashboard, which showcases metrics for each individual tweet, including retweets, likes and replies.

    Other social networks

    While Facebook and Twitter reign supreme as the social media content kings, don’t count out Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube. They all have their own benefits and quirks.

    In Snapchat, you can now see total story views by week, month and year; time spent viewing stories in minutes; daily unique story viewers; and some audience demographics and interests.

    Instagram Insights allow businesses to view impressions, reach and profile visits. You can also see what times of the day your followers engage with your profile, which can help you determine times you should post new content.

    LinkedIn now allows your page administrator to see engagement with individual posts, follower demographics, comments, shares and number of new followers. But it only shows you that data for the last seven days.

    With so many social media platforms, it can be tricky to track results, analyze data, and measure success. That's when a social media management platform such as Buffer can come in very handy. Buffer lets you link up several separate platforms in one place rather than trying to stay on top of all of them by yourself. Find patterns and compare results to discover what works for your brand. Track campaign performance in real-time with our easy-to-use dashboards so you can see the impact of your social marketing every day, hour, or minute.

  • 12 Dec 2018 12:13 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    This brings up a great point... e-Receipts are becoming more and more popular and are a great way for customers to keep track and manage their receipts on their computers. However, one does wonder what else they do with that information. 

    Great short read from our friends over the pound~

    UK – Retailers sending customers receipts by email may be in breach of data protection laws, according to research by consumer group Which?.

    Mystery shoppers were sent to 11 retail outlets, including TopshopMothercare and Nike, where they requested an e-receipt but told the retailer they did not want to receive additional marketing.

    E-receipts sent out by MothercareSchuhHalfords and Gap contained promotional marketing, "indicating that the retailers may be breaking data protection rules", Which? said.

    Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) earlier this year, companies must not send direct marketing to new customers unless the recipient has consented to the communication.

    Retailers asking for an email address at the point of sale must give shoppers the chance to opt out, if they are planning to send marketing information.

    While most of the shops in the research complied with data protection law, the e-receipts which did contain marketing "raise concerns that some retailers or their employees do not fully understand their obligations," Which? said.

    The mystery shopping research was launched after Which? conducted a survey that found 70% of people were concerned about how retailers might use their data, with over half ( 59%) concerned that if they received an e-receipt, their email address may be shared with third parties.

    Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at Which?, said: "More and more shops are offering e-receipts, which can be convenient for shoppers, but our investigation suggests not all shops are aware of the law.

    "Retailers must do everything possible to ensure shoppers can have confidence that they won’t be bombarded with unwanted marketing emails and that their personal details are safe."

    A Halford’s spokesperson told Which?: "We take the privacy of our customers very seriously and would like to assure them that our e-receipts are compliant with the UK’s data protection law and conform to GDPR regulations. Our e-receipts do not contain any active promotion of products or services."

    A Schuh spokesperson told Which?: "Following your feedback, we have now updated the communications you highlighted. We are committed to achieving full compliance in all our marketing communications."

    Gap said it takes the privacy rights of its customers seriously and is investigating further. 

    Mothercare told the Guardian: "We take the privacy rights of our customers very seriously and we are confident our e-receipts comply with data protection laws. We look forward to receiving Which’s findings so we can investigate fully."

    Which? sent mystery shoppers to 11 retail outlets – Topshop, Clarks, Gap (including GAP Outlet), New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Arcadia Group (Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Burton), Schuh, Mothercare, Halfords, Currys PC World and Nike. Shoppers were asked to find out what data protection information was offered in-store and to examine the e-receipts they received. The shoppers visited each retail group a minimum of three times with a total of 34 visits.

    The organisation surveyed 2,074 UK adults online between 19th-21stOctober regarding their attitude to e-receipts. The survey was conducted by Populus.

  • 10 Dec 2018 5:09 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)
    Interesting perspective on the prediction of mental health issues from social media posts. 

    By TODD FEATHERS New Hampshire Union Leader

    Dec 8, 2018 Updated Dec 9, 2018

    On May 30, 2017, the Rochester Police Department received a call about a juvenile in the city who had posted something concerning on Facebook.

    The caller thought the boy might be contemplating suicide, so officers quickly contacted his mother. She told police her son hadn’t harmed himself and she had already taken him to a local hospital for evaluation.

    It was a good end to what, in many ways, was a routine call.

    Since 2016, Rochester police have received 95 reports about potentially suicidal residents based on Facebook posts that friends or family members spotted and deemed concerning enough to warrant calling 911.

    But the department has also received two reports, including the one from May 30, 2017, that came from a different source: Facebook itself.

    Three months before a Facebook employee called Rochester police about the juvenile’s concerning post, the social media company announced the launch of a new artificial intelligence program that scans text and pictures posted to the website for evidence that the user may be suicidal.

    “I’m sure there are going to be people out there who say it’s an invasion of privacy,” Rochester police Capt. Jason Thomas said. “But to me, if they’re putting it out there on Facebook, which is public, it’s a cry for help.”

    The program is currently running worldwide, looking for patterns in every Facebook user’s posts. It is perhaps the largest and most active example of a burgeoning new use of artificial intelligence, but several more advanced tools are in development.

    From companies using Twitter posts and Fitbit data to recognize suicidal inclination to a group of Dartmouth College researchers who developed a program to scan Instagram posts and identify users at a high risk of alcoholism, social media-trawling AIs are quickly becoming tools for detecting elusive behavioral health problems.

    “This technology is possible. It’s very clear that there are signals relevant to our mental health that are present in our social media data,” said Glen Coppersmith, CEO of Qntfy, a Virginia company that is using AI to identify people at risk of suicide based on data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and wearable devices.

    “We can think of ways that we could apply this, but the biggest question is, ‘How ought we apply this?’ ” he said. “There are a lot of really big, obvious questions there. How should it be used? Who should have access to that information?”

    The health problems these programs are designed to solve are among the biggest around.

    In its announcement last month that life expectancy in the U.S. decreased last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified two main causes: increases in suicide and overdose deaths.

    Combined, they accounted for 725 deaths in New Hampshire in 2016.

    Research at Dartmouth

    Saeed Hassanpour and a team of researchers at Dartmouth set out last year to prove that AI could be used to first identify people at high risk of drug and alcohol addiction, and then target them with the proper treatment options.

    The team created a neural network, a type of artificial intelligence programming, and fed it two sets of data: more than 1.3 million Instagram comments and pictures from 2,287 users and the responses those users gave on a clinical survey used by health care professionals to measure alcohol and drug use.

    By analyzing the two data sets together, the network began to recognize patterns in the Instagram posts that corresponded with surveys that indicated a heightened risk of addiction.

    In an article published in October in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the researchers announced that their neural network successfully detected users at a high risk of alcoholism. Hassanpour said they are now working to gather more data and believe they will be able to teach the network to identify indicators of drug addiction as well.

    They’re also working on another aspect of the project: figuring out how, exactly, their network achieved its task. Because the program did not receive any human input — such as instructions to look for pictures of people holding alcoholic beverages, for example — the researchers don’t know what patterns it identified.

    “We trained the model on the raw data, so we didn’t really give any kind of manual direction to the model on what features maybe contribute to (risk of addiction),” Hassanpour said. “That’s kind of the strength … but at the same time, it makes the models kind of a black box, so we are right now working to try and develop the features that contributed and provide some insight.”

    Qntfy’s algorithm picked up on unexpected indicators of suicide, Coppersmith said. People contemplating suicide were more likely to use the word “I” than “we” and less likely to use emojis when discussing emotions. Other studies have shown that people contemplating suicide prefer Instagram’s Inkwell filter, which turns pictures black and white.

    New science always takes time to gain the trust of clinicians and make its way into practical settings, said Ken Norton, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ New Hampshire chapter. But he sees real potential for AI in the mental health field if the tools can be used with participants’ consent.

    “We really need to look at different ways of preventing suicide than we’ve been using up until now,” he said.

    “If I’m willing to have all my data analyzed for purposes of shopping and consumer goods, why shouldn’t I likewise be willing to have that information looked at for potential lifesaving measures?” he added.

    Privacy risks

    The research into these tools suggests they are ripe with potential, both for helping solve intractable health problems and creating a wide array of new privacy concerns.

    In order to work, they depend on social media companies with spotty track records of protecting users’ data.

    Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced in September that a data breach had exposed the personal information of about 50 million of its users.

    And the companies’ business models are built around collecting huge amounts of user data that can be plugged into algorithms to help advertisers target potential customers. The AI tools developed by Qntfy, the Dartmouth researchers and others work on many of the same principles.

    “I think the optimistic view of the future version of this is that a really intelligent app could just observe your behavior as you go about your life, on your phone, watching you move, and an algorithm would be crunching all that information, comparing it to millions of others’ and then tell your doctor” if you show signs of addictive or suicidal behavior, said Chris Danforth, a University of Vermont professor who helped develop one of the earliest AI tools to detect suicidal inclinations.

    He doesn’t subscribe to the optimistic view and worries that unethical marketers could use AI tools to target alcohol and drug ads.

    “There will be ways for advertisers of any industry to ask Facebook to show ads to people with demographic traits that correlate to people with mental health problems,” he said. “I’m definitely pessimistic that we’re not ready culturally. As a society, we don’t have the structures in place — legal structures or support structures.”

    In a statement, Facebook wrote that it works closely with mental health experts and carefully handles information flagged by its AI program.

    “Our Community Operations team includes thousands of people around the world who review reports about content on Facebook, including those flagged by our AI,” the company said. “The team includes a dedicated group of specialists who have specific training in suicide and self harm. Where we have signals of potential imminent risk or harm, a specialized team conducts an additional review to determine if we should help refer the individual for a wellness check.”

    Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” ethos (it was once a Facebook motto) has been criticized in recent years as it became evident that some of the world’s largest tech companies failed to anticipate the damage their platforms could cause.

    Some of the developers of AI-powered behavioral health screening tools are eager not to make that mistake.

    “I think it’s a little too early to see who’s going to be the main user of this. I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves,” Hassanpour said. “What we tried to do is show the value of social media data in identifying individuals at risk.”

    “We hope that this can one day be operational while protecting people’s privacy, with the correct safeguards,” he added.

    Opt-in, opt-out options

    Social media users are also becoming more conscious of the value, and risk, that comes with turning their data over.

    Danforth said that when he began recruiting people to participate in a study of his suicide risk-detection tool he had no trouble finding people willing to disclose their serious mental health information to researchers. But when they were asked for their social media data, many of them dropped out of the study.

    One of the biggest ethical tests for the AI programs will be whether they’re developed as opt-in or opt-out models. Will social media users choose to have their posts monitored, or will platforms run them in the background, as Facebook is doing?

    Coppersmith praised Facebook’s suicide prevention efforts and pointed out that users must opt-in to using Facebook in the first place, although the platform has become ubiquitous and can be hard to leave.

    “I do applaud them that they’re trying to do this, doing some of the experimentations, even as they risk offending some people, because they want to see progress in this space,” he said, adding that the statistics — 47,173 Americans committed suicide last year and 70,237 fatally overdosed, according to the CDC — warrant bold action.

    “Someone could build these things and use them unethically,” Coppersmith said. But that has to be balanced against “the fact that we’ve not meaningfully moved the needle in 50 years in suicide prevention.”

  • 4 Dec 2018 1:57 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Posted on November 8, 2018 by eChatter

    How to protect you and your children’s accounts

    Social media is no longer just a way for us to connect with friends and family. It’s how we connect with the world in general. By sharing photos, kids sporting events, places we like to visit, vacations, and other personal information, we make it easy for cyber thieves to gather specific data about our lives.

    What exactly is cyber identity theft?

    Online or cyber identity theft refers to a group of behaviors that can unfairly jeopardize or tarnish a victim’s reputation. Most commonly, this form of identity theft involves using someone’s likeness online, usually to pose as them and supplant their existing online presence.

    For example, many parents like to share pictures of their kids online. But posting those precious photos could result in issues with identity theft, advertisements, or online predators.

    Bree Fowler is the privacy editor for Consumer Reports. She warns parents to be careful. “Seemingly harmless information like your child’s name, their age, what they look like, where they go to school, all of that information can be used to create a profile that a hacker can use down the road for identity theft,” said Fowler.

    How can you be sure your child’s identity is safe?

    Set your social accounts to their highest security and privacy settings.You should ensure that none of your accounts are leaking information to parties whom you don’t intend to share information. Also, make sure that you review your social media post visibility after software updates to make sure your settings remain private. Finally, make sure that your account security is strong by using complex and unique passwords, two-factor authentication and good account reset questions.

    Don’t use hashtags. It makes it easy for cybercriminals to find your photos.

    Don’t use geotags. It gives criminals an easy way to find your child’s location. If you do not change your privacy settings, each time you post or add new pictures it will tag the exact location where you posted from.

    Be skeptical of links to unfamiliar websites, especially ones that promise shocking video, photos or gossip. They may be designed to hijack control of your account and information, and trick your friends into doing the same.

    If you log into social media on someone else’s computer, remember to log off before leaving and do not check the box to remember your username or password.

    Identity Theft

    What can you do if you become a victim?

    Contact the admins of the site or service where your identity is being abused or where your account was stolen.

    Notify friends, family and followers, if possible.Anyone who you regularly talk to or do business with has a right to know that you’re no longer in control of your online identity so that they don’t fall for any scams your identity thief might try.

    Monitor your online identity and change your passwords.As a precaution, you might want to monitor your other online accounts to verify that they haven’t been breached as well. Also, consider an identity theft protection service. Most of the top-rated services will monitor the use of your information on the Internet black market, allowing you to catch further abuse of your identity.

  • 27 Nov 2018 9:20 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    We always learn from our mistakes and this time of year is a great time to reflect on and learn from others who missed the mark in social media marketing. From 

    By: Lilach Bullock

    I write about digital marketing topics, from content to social.

    I write about digital marketing topics, from content to social.

    With over a third of the world’s population on social media, it’s only natural that so many brands have joined in, doing their best to stand out in a positive way, reach their audience and engage them with meaningful content.

    Only…that isn’t always the case. Every year, brands make huge mistakes on social media, mistakes that either lead to a few chuckles at their expense, considerable consequences and anything in between.

    And of course, 2018 was no exception. While last year there we had small social media fails like McDonalds’s tweeting an update before it was actually written… Or bigger fails, like Wendy’s tweeting out an anti-Semitic meme and, of course, the introduction of the word “covfefe” to languages throughout the world, 2018 too saw its fair share of social media fails, both big and small.

    In this blog post, I’m going to share some of the biggest social media fails of 2018. Here they are, in no particular order:

    Snapchat or “how not all publicity is good publicity”

    2018 has been a pretty difficult year for Snapchat.

    Starting with Kylie Jenner’s tweet back in February of 2018 asking if “anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” that was estimated to cost Snapchat a staggering $1.3 billion to other celebrities dropping the popular social network, followed by even more regular users leaving the platform.

    And not only that but they were also the cause of a pretty huge social media fail that led to them losing £650 million and enraging people all over the world.

    It all started with a simple ad of a game: “Would You Rather?”. The purpose was to engage people and make them ask – and answer – impossible questions. However, the questions they chose for the ad left a lot to be desired, making light of domestic abuse by referencing Chris Brown’s conviction for hitting Rihanna back in 2009:

    Would You Rather: “Slap Rihanna?” of “Punch Chris Brown?”

    This of course led to immediate backlash, the $650 million loss that I previously referenced and, not surprisingly, very bad publicity for Snapchat especially as Rihanna wouldn’t accept Snapchat’s apology.

    Clearly, even if the ad was created by a third-party app, that really doesn’t excuse Snapchat in the public eye.

    What can you learn from this huge fail?

    One of the most popular sayings in marketing and PR is “no publicity is bad publicity”. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule and Snapchat has certainly made that very clear.

    Looking back, it’s difficult to understand why they took this very dangerous route, except perhaps to get people talking about. And while they certainly achieved that, it also led to some serious consequences.

    So the most important lesson to learn here? Quite simply, don’t be offensive – even if that is your brand, there are always limits to what is acceptable and making jokes about domestic abuse as a brand is definitely up there in the list.

    Another important lesson? Check third party content before you let it go live. Anything that is shared on any one of your websites/blogs/social media/etc. should be properly reviewed before being published.

    US Air Force or “maybe don’t make jokes about killing people?

    The US Air Force Twitter account is the author of one of the worst tweets of 2018. But before I get to that, there’s a bit of a backstory.

    Back in spring of 2018, a new viral clip took over the Internet, much like the blue/white dress of 2015 – now entitled simply, The Dress.

    The audio clip, posted by a social media influencer, featured a recording of a voice saying “Laurel” – or “Yanny”. By asking the Internet what they thought was actually being said in the clip, it led to an incredible viral sensation that had people fighting over it much like they did back in 2015 with The Dress.

    When you get these viral sensations, you can also except brands and organizations to jump in on the trend and try to piggyback off it with the appropriate hashtags.

    However, as is the case with the US Air Force, that can definitely backfire. The organization posted an insensitive tweet that was making light of drone attacks and bombing victims by claiming victims would much rather hear Yanny or Laurel rather than their A10 drone.

    Not surprisingly, this led to very intensive backlash both on social media and in the press, even though they promptly deleted the tweet and apologized for it.

    What can you learn from this fail?

    While jumping into pop culture and incorporating these types of elements in your social media updates is a good idea (when done well!), brands need to take care when they make any joke.

    And what’s more, brands really need very clear guidelines of what can be and can’t be posted on social media. Take the time to put together guidelines and social media policies and make sure to instruct your social media team on what is acceptable and what isn’t, as well as how they need to conduct themselves online when they have access to any company account.

    Better yet, create a system or social media workflow whereby a manager or editor needs to give their approval before any update is published.

    Chick-fil-a or “why you should take a minute before responding”

    After the previous 2 fails in this list, this one is just a bit of harmless fun; however, it’s still a fail and there’s still plenty to learn from it.

    Chick-fil-A, a North American chicken sandwich brand has fans all over the world; but mostly, they’re from North America.

    One of their fans from North Pole, Alaska took to Twitter to ask Chick-fil-A if “Yall wanna open a Chick-fil-A in North Pole, Alaska? Like everyone wants one”. To which Chick-fil-A promptly responded:

    “Thanks for asking! Although we have no immediate plans of expanding beyond North America at this time, we appreciate your feedback! Thanks for being a fan!”

    While it’s easy to understand why the person answering the tweet wouldn’t have heard of the just-over-2000 strong town, it’s a bit more difficult to understand how they wouldn’t know that Alaska is, in fact, a U.S state.

    What can you learn from this fail?

    While this isn’t as big a fail as, for example, the “Would you rather?” ad, it still teaches us an important lesson: do your research before you respond to a customer on social media. Spend a couple of minutes going through the question or comment to make sure you definitely understand it – and only then respond to it.


    2018 has seen some pretty huge social media fails, but if you’re not their author, then you can use it as an opportunity to learn from other people’s (and brands’) mistakes and fails, such as:

    To start with, don’t make offensive jokes!

    Create clear social media posting guidelines that state very clearly, using examples, what is acceptable and what isn’t on your company social media accounts

    Create a social media workflow that requires interns/junior associates/etc. go through an editing process and get approval from their manager before posting an update

  • 19 Nov 2018 2:34 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    By:  Jim Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING: Tech-friendly pragmatist that specializes in innovation and revitalizing businesses.

    Every marketer understands the value of knowing their target audience. Conventionally, marketers utilize demographic categorization, primarily population groups, when targeting consumers. The new, viral wave of influence marketers are digitally mining deeper via the different social media platforms to find their target audience. The individuals they target are called brand advocates, select social individuals who have influence over potential buyers. As a result, marketers want to get a better understanding of the psychology of social sharing, the subject of my last post Social Sharing.  For the record, I agree with the hypothesis of brand advocates, but as I stated in my last post, marketers are over processing when it comes to targeting.

    It is my position, with all the material that has been published by conventional marketers, there is one demographic population group that eats, sleeps and breathes social media and sharing content online. Meet the influencers, Gen Z, individuals born after 1997. This group of future consumers will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020.  Overall, Gen Z commands about $828 billion in spending power. Having lived their whole lives online, they are an exceedingly tech-savvy, a “cut to the chase” generation.  Their digital life is becoming even more complex.  Smartphone penetration is currently estimated (source: Common Sense media) at 81.1% among teenager (ages 12-to17-year-olds) and is expected to reach 85% by 2022.  The same report estimates they are heavily partaking in social media; approximately 7 out of 10.  According to a recent eMarketer report, their mobile social app usage is higher than Millennials – the Big Three platforms being YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.  More than half (59%) of Gen Zers (specifically ages 16-24) surveyed indicated their usage of YouTube increased in this past year versus the prior year; while 56% indicated their use of Snapchat increased and 55% of the respondents were using Instagram more. 

    Given Gen Z is a tech centric generation, I believe marketers now recognize they need to digitally transform their marketing/selling strategies accordingly to this benefit, results driven demographic group.  Straight to the point messaging, no clever promotional ploys (e.g., loyalty programs), authentic, as well as entertaining interactive experiences across MTP (multiple touch points).  It is also vital for companies to keep pace with technology trends to continue engaging and appealing with its younger generation of consumers.  Two current trends that are gaining popularity are the creative, multimedia “storification” of social media platforms and AR (Augmented Reality) marketing.  Oh yes, let’s not forget, when it comes to living life day to day, thanks to technology, all great experiences are instagrammable (shareable photographs). 

    In conclusion, why spend the resources as in time, people and money to identify social individuals that influence buying. They have already been identified – Gen Z, your future consumers. Instead, spend your resources crafting influence marketing movements targeting teenagers to drive sales. 

Copyright 2017, Social Media Research Association. All rights reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software