Over the last month or so I’ve been let loose to play with some social media monitoring tools and weigh up their business potential. I now like to think I’ve got good a grasp on what they can do in commercial terms, but I was always tempted to delve into more general social insights.
I investigated how much of an effect Banksy had in social media since his exhibition in the Bristol museum. It was significant. People use social media to talk about social stuff, so obviously they were talking about queuing for hours…even I did! I would have liked to search for my friends and develop some personality profiles for them based on their activity across social media. But I didn’t. It felt a little close to the line!
Anyway, at no point did I give real consideration to how these social tools could be used to help with social issues. Searching keywords across social media channels isn’t just about figuring out whether Twitter or Flickr is more popular with Apple customers. The potential to put these tools to use to help people with personal issues is huge and this only dawned on me when reading this article by Jonathan Nyguen for 360 Digital Influence. In it he ponders how Radian 6 could be used to prevent suicides and mass murders. It’s rational thinking, though some of his points aren’t quite right (sentiment analysis in Radian 6 is a manual process), the idea behind it is great. When you consider the bigger picture, this use of the tool is the most obvious, charities should be getting the use of these tools to help them help others before their situations get out of hand. The Samaritans could be using it not just to prevent suicides, but to reach out to people who are involved in communities for eating disorders, or who are self harming etc. The tool would allow them to be proactive in finding these people before they have to be reactive in handling that last gasp phone call from somebody who is on the edge of ending their life.
With this in mind I’m encouraging all social media monitoring providers to offer at least a discount on their tools to charities who will be able to put them to use in a positive social sense, if not provide the tools to them for free. If it can bring about positive change, then let’s make sure it happens.
Buzz for good – #Buzz4Good.