September 2007

Quite rightly there is increasing amounts of talk about ‘social media’ online. The jury is still out on the real value of some areas of social media and networks, but one area where the value is currently most apparent is using network analysis to help optimise your natural search engine rankings (SEO), largely by identifying suitable sites to get inbound links from.

But what with the internet being so big, and growing so fast, it has been hard to make any practical sense of all the network data available. Recently I came across a tool which showed me the potential power of visualising these relationships…The tool in question is provided by TouchGraph – for example here’s a visualisation map of sites related to based on Google data.

Of course, we can question the credibility and reliability of the actual data source (in this case Google’s related sites data) but I think the visualisation alone is very powerful. Particularly for mere marketing/commercial types like me, rather than data analysts.

It reminds me a little of the (site) web analytics tools and how they progressed and advanced in terms of data visualisation. I remember Site Intelligence’s  VBIS tool being amongst the first to do a good job of visualising traffic flows across an entire website; or Speed-trap’s video replays of user sessions and “heat” clickmaps. People like Visual Sciences are now doing some pretty cool visualisation stuff in the world of web/data analytics.

The point is that visualization itself is an extremely poweful and important part of making data intelligible, useful and actionable. (For further examples, do read Avinash Kaushik’s excellent blog piece “The Awesome Power of Data Visualization“).

It still seems quite early days (outside of web/data analytics as mentioned above) for seeing mature data and visualisation services and products for things like online competitive intelligence and benchmarking, or even link / social network analysis for search engine optimisation. Though we are beginning to see some search agencies develop and even productise such technology e.g. Spannerworks’ Network Sense.

With increasing use of standardised data sets (or, at least, better marked up data) and APIs, I’d be very surprised if there weren’t a rash a new services coming which took interesting data and made it commercially valuable by visualising it in a way which makes it meaningful and actionable.

Indeed, I’m sure they already exist and TouchGraph is just the one I happened to come across.

So I’m interested in hearing from you about other such tools and services that you’ve come across where interesting data and visualization is being brought together to provide you with something useful for your online marketing?

Ashley Friedlein

Related Blog Article:
Blog and User Generated Content monitoring services


Following the success of the first edition of this book published two years ago, this New Edition, now in paperback format, has been updated and includes new data on the main market players (28 companies are described) to reflect the latest changes and developments within the text mining sector.Text Mining is an interdisciplinary field bringing together techniques from data mining, linguistics, information retrieval, and visualization to address the issue of quickly extracting information from large databases with different applicative objectives. This book is directed towards graduate students in business, and undergraduate students in computer science, and to practitioners in law enforcement, security, intelligence, marketing and IT departments; it assumes readers have little or no previous knowledge about mathematics or linguistics. It has been structured as a self-teaching guide and has been written as a result of the authors’ experiences in participating in several large-scale text mining projects. It can be used as a guide for system integrators, and designers of text mining systems, but especially for business analysts and consultants who wish to apply the powerful tools of this technology to real situations.CONTENTS:THEORETICAL OVERVIEW: Text Processing and Information Retrieval; Information Extraction; Text Clustering; Text Categorization; Summarization and Visualization; Application Integration; ROI in Text Mining Projects.APPLICATIONS: Open Sources Analysis for Corporate and Government Intelligence; A Critical Appraisal of Text Mining in an Intelligence Environment; How to Forecast Telecommunications Competitive Landscape; Competitive Intelligence for SMEs: An Application to the Italian Building Sector; Virtual Communities: Human Capital and other Personal Characteristics Extraction; Customer Feedbacks and Opinion Surveys Analysis in the Automotive industry; Email Management System; TV Channel Provider: Mining the User Feedback; Text Mining in Banking; Text Mining in Life Sciences; Information Search and Classification to Foster Innovation in SMEs; Media Industry: How to Improve Documentalists Efficiency; Link Analysisin Crime Pattern Detection; SOFTWARE AND SERVICES: Text Mining Resources. ABOUT THE EDITOR:Alessandro Zanasi is a security research advisor and professor at Bologna University, Italy. Before he served asCarabinieri officer in Rome Scientific Investigations Center; IBM executive in Italy, Paris and San Jose (USA); METAGroup analyst; cofounder of Temis SA.As an intelligence specialist, he has been advising governments and corporations in security, intelligence and detectiontechnologies for more than twenty years. Among the others: European Commission through his membership, since 2005,to ESRAB-European Security Research Advisory Board and, since 2007, to ESRIF-European Security Research andInnovation Forum. AMONG THE 28 AUTHORS:Milic (Microsoft, UK), Pazienza (Univ.Roma,IT), Tiberio (Univ.Modena,IT), Sebastiani (Univ.Padova,IT),Mladenic, Grobelnik (Stefan Institute, SL), Sullivan (Ballston, USA), Politi (Analyst, IT), de’ Rossi (Telecom Italia,IT), Grivel (CNRS, F), Wives, Loh (Univ.Rio Grande, BR), Lebeth (Dresdner Bank, D), Fluck, Gieger (FraunhoferInstitute, D), Peters (Gruner+Jahr, D), Ananyan (Megaputer, USA).Abstract Previex and other info: 1313textminingv207.pdf