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Explore the Interactive #YesAllWomen Tweet Map

Explore the Interactive #YesAllWomen Tweet Map

I started working with the #YesAllWomen tweet archive I built this week.  This is the largest archive I have dealt with so there have been some new challenges. There were over 107,000 tweets and retweets during the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, but this was about 5 times that size.

The geocoding for the map below happens in batches of 10,000 tweets, so it will be a while before it is completely finished.  In the meantime, you can explore this copy of the map while the encoding continues.

Notes:  While some people have granted Twitter permission to embed their exact location in the metadata of their tweets, I strip that data out of the archive before I publish anything or make the download available.  I know people had to opt-in to include that data, but I am not convinced that everyone who opts-in to that really understand what it means.  The locations used on the map here are general locations as people have specified on their profile and are not tied to any specific tweet.

This method is safer, in my opinion, but it definitely introduces errors into the map.  Many people use odd abbreviations or whimsical phrases for their locations.  The encoding algorithms try their best, but they are not perfect.  For example, someone from Southeast Missouri used SEMO as their location and the encoding resulted in their tweet appearing to come from the town of Semo in Fiji.  Another person used “Under the moon” as their location and the encoder believes that to be somewhere in western Russia.

So with that in mind… enjoy the map.

Scott Abel on Software Selection Strategy

Scott Abel on Software Selection Strategy

Scott Abel, in his Flexing Your Content column for EContent today, discusses the best approach to selecting tools to make the work of content staff easier and/or better.  His points are equally valid for virtually any software selection process.  And I can tell you this with complete confidence:  Your IT staff will really appreciate it if you follow Scott’s advice and ask the right question at the beginning.  Sharing what you hope to accomplish is definitely the best way to start.

As a content strategy consultant, I’m often called upon by brands seeking to find ways to solve complex content challenges. Far too often, they start off their quest for a solution by asking the wrong first question: “What software do we need?”

This is the wrong first question for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is that software products are tools, not content solutions, no matter what software company marketing mavens would like you to believe. Tools help content professionals solve content challenges and meet business goals. Tools, by themselves, do not solve content problems.

Be sure to read the whole column at  Selecting Software: The Right First Question.

Access Massive Public Data Sets with Amazon Web Services

Access Massive Public Data Sets with Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services hosts a wide variety of public data sets that anyone can access for free through AWS services.

Previously, large data sets such as the mapping of the Human Genome required hours or days to locate, download, customize, and analyze. Now, anyone can access these data sets and analyze them using Amazon EC2 instances or Amazon EMR (Hosted Hadoop) clusters. By hosting this important data where it can be quickly and easily processed with elastic computing resources, AWS hopes to enable more innovation, more quickly.

For help in using these, check out the Public Data Sets Forum hosted by Amazon. This support forum includes a thread where you can make Public Data Set and tool requests. Before requesting something, be sure to check out the Public Data Set Directory.

People Watching on Facebook is Fun

People Watching on Facebook is Fun

Last Friday I posted instructions on how to declutter your main Facebook’s News Feed by exiling posts by pages to Interest lists and ending the constant tug-of-war for Facebook user’s attention.  The same day I posted that set of instructions I went to work on my own account.  I spent over an hour sorting every page I had liked since joining Facebook about seven years ago into a dozen or so Interest Groups.

I ended up Unliking a lot of pages that are no longer relevant or active, and I moved the rest into Interest Groups and turned off “Following” for them.

When you follow a person or Page you see their posts in your News Feed. You automatically follow people you’re friends with. You can also follow the posts of people you’re interested in. You can also choose to allow people who aren’t your friends to follow your Public posts on their News Feed.

DancePartyI also unfollowed a few Facebook friends who post do not actually interact with people on Facebook and only share game activity or super popular memes.  By unfollowing, but not unfriending, we can still use Facebook messaging and see each other’s Friends Only posts without cluttering up our News Feeds with stuff that does not interest us.

That left me with people!  People I have met in person, family members, friends from school, former coworkers, etc…  were all right there on my News Feed.  They were just there.  One after another their status updates and shared photos and links marched down the feed.  They were not interspersed with news and marketing messages from companies I like or news outlets I follow.  It has been so refreshing.  This is what social media should be about.

Now days, after catching up on my friends I pop into my interest groups to see content of whatever variety I am in the mood for, whether that is news, or humor, or history/genealogy information.  And despite being a real news junkie, I did not feel deprived not seeing the latest Ars Technica or Raw Story posts because I did see the posts shared by people I trust or share an interest and interest with so the ones I do see are usually the best of the best.  These changes have fine tuned the curation power of my social network and the results have been great.

If you want to make Facebook feels less like a lecture hall or reading a newspaper and more like attending a dinner party, I recommend you try kicking Pages out of your News Feed.
Top image by Stenfire (Stefano Marasso) on deviantART (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License).

Stop Complaining About Facebook and Fix it Yourself!

Stop Complaining About Facebook and Fix it Yourself!

Facebook Changes

Recently Facebook faced reality and made some overdue changes that have some people freaking out.  Unlike other changes that sparked complaints, this time the people upset are coming from the regular Facebook user base and the Facebook Page operators that have built the marketing parts of their companies and organizations on the idea that they will be able to use Facebook to reach people forever for free.

The fact is, there is more content on Facebook than the average human can view. This means filtering has to occur.  In our daily lives we do the filtering ourselves.  We decide which emails to answer, which text messages need an immediate response and which can wait, and we decide which of our family and friends we need to touch base with on a daily basis.  The flood of information available to those of us who use Facebook has reached the point where decisions have to be made.  It is understandable that Page admins and regular users resent that it is Facebook doing the filtering instead of the regular users who have Liked pages and Friended other users.

Facebook Statistics from Statistic Brain show that as of January 1, 2014:

[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • The total number of Facebook pages is 54,200,000
  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends
  • The average Facebook user is connected to 80 pages, brands, events or groups
  • Every 20 Minutes on Facebook there are 1 million links shared, 2 million friend requests, and 3 million messages sent
  • The average time spent on Facebook per visit is 18 minutes


Think about that for a moment.  In that average user’s 18 minute visit there is no way they can read all the messages and links and view the photos shared since their last visit.  It Just Can’t Happen. Period.

And as satisfying as it may be to stamp our feet and complain about Facebook, this is all our fault.  We are way too happy to Like a page for a brand we like, or a TV show, or local business, or our friend’s closet organizing side business.  We see nothing wrong with reconnecting with friends from high school or past jobs or that dinner party we went to that one time.  Facebook has given “Friend” a whole new meaning that is much broader and fuzzier than it had before.  Think back to what “friend” meant to you when you were in high school and then ask how many of the people on your Facebook friends list would have fit the definition back then.

Most probably won’t… but that is not a bad thing.  I know people on Facebook that I have never met in person and my life is much better… or at least more interesting, for having their statuses and photos appear in my news feed.

The good news is that you can keep your friends and still see all the latest Big Bang Theory stuff and your local Applebee’s specials all on your own terms using tools that are already built into Facebook.

If you operate a Page and want to really help your fans, share these techniques with your loyal followers.  If they really want to see ALL of your updates, this is the best way to help them do that because, lets face it, techniques like this are not cutting it:

Pretty Please!

The Problem

Too much information and too little time and screen real estate.

The Fix

Facebook provides tools that allow users to create Interest Lists. Facebook has a short help page at How do I create my own interest list? but it is very general. Here are the steps to move your Liked Pages into Interest lists from your profile.  These steps are based on using Facebook on the web.  I would not try this on a phone or tablet. (more…)

Straight Talk on Climate Change from Neil deGrasse Tyson

Straight Talk on Climate Change from Neil deGrasse Tyson

Business Inside shared this short video by Neil deGrasse Tyson about climate change.  He opens with an important fact:  The good thing about science is that its true, whether or not you believe in it.

StarTalk Radio is a podcast and radio program hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, where comic co-hosts, guest celebrities and scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Follow StarTalk Radio on Twitter, and watch StarTalk Radio “Behind the Scenes” on YouTube.