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An excellent posting as usual. One of the exciting aspects of Social Graph Analysis is its potential to unlock trends in the social graph. These trends could be extracted using advanced machine learning methods that may identify trends in brand advocates and brand influencers. These innovations would discover sentiments in a social graph through time which is likely of great interest to the marketing community.

Interesting and profound post.
you mentioned the pros and added values of social exposure and later the importance of social analytics, what do you think about the cons of such platform?
Some cons I can think of are:
1. Data explosion- too much information to analyze from several sources might misleading us
2. Time consuming
3. Costly
4. Lack of previous experience with such analysis and the benefits associated with it.

Moreover - should we follow our customers (or potential customers) ideas and notions or should it be the opposite?

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" by Steve Jobs

Ditto to the above - interesting post. But, in many ways I think you overate the value of social analytics. You spend far too much time expounding on what it does and nothing on how it does it - which renders your thesis as an academic exercise where the perceived value can be misplaced.

In the end I don't believe the social analytics will add up to much because of the varied interpretations of the data. Moreover, you spend a lot of time talking about the "data." You quote McKinsey this and that stating they have identified 10 different ways social adds value to the enterprise. "Analytics can play an important role." Big deal and not terribly useful. I can give you 10 reasons why Facebook is falling flat on its ass. Getting data is not the problem. Analyzing data is not the issue. Data analysis just gets caught in the whirlwind of running a business and becomes more of a distraction rather than a sharp focus for operating and growing a company. What leaders need is not more data, they need information. Your post does almost nothing to address how the data is turned into useful information to management. The most you seem to give are "metrics," "graphs" and crazy stuff like "influencers." Where does all this hyperbole lead?

I think you should refocus the tired data and analytics chatter and bring some new interpretation to the table.

@Brad: Thank you for your comment. I am not certain you understood the post's thesis, which is: The use of social generates a lot of data; much more than most other applications and more diverse data than transactional applications. Despite that volume and diversity (which create their own management issues), companies have chosen to analyze that data only by focusing on sentiment analysis. While part of social analytics, sentiment analysis doesn't allow marketers to get the complete answer to the question on whether their large and multi-faceted investments in social media provide them with the ROI they are expecting. Moreover, determining social media ROI, i.e., getting the insight from the analysis of the generated and collected social data, requires the integration of that data with other types of data.

It would be very useful to the readers of this blog if you could offer conclusions and lessons learned from your own work in social analytics in particular, or analytics in general

Ah...not one of them. And you need a type who SHOULD be far more involved as they need it for their business but still can just about keep up on Linked In!

Getting data is not the problem. Analyzing data is not the issue. Data analysis just gets caught in the whirlwind of running a business and becomes more of a distraction rather than a sharp focus for operating and growing a company....

This is why I have been writing about the need for Insight as a Service. Executives want to understand the actions that they will need to take as a result of particular analytics. The analytics is just a means to an end. Most organizations are just now starting to understand this as they are inundated by data and analytics but still don't have a clear idea of what to do to improve their execution effectiveness.

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Evangelos Simoudis is a Senior Managing Director at Trident Capital where he focuses on investments in SaaS, Internet and Data.

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