From social listening to social understanding

It is not surprising that the rapid expansion in social media breadth (content type) and depth (content volume) has provided our industry with an exciting array of data to analyse.  Like a frenzy of excitable sharks drawn to this veritable explosion of social media plankton, researchers have approached the feeding frenzy in a number of different ways – some of which now seem to be under scrutiny in the public eye.

The diversity in use and measurement of social media impact suggests it is time to develop a new vernacular around ideas like ‘social listening’, particularly when it comes to integrating this understanding with our knowledge of social media personas and cultural motivations.

We know, for instance, that individuals behave and interact differently in a social context, and that for some, the guise of anonymity offered by both the ubiquity and spontaneity of social media tools has magnified this difference.  Individuals motivated by what we call the, ‘Cult Of First’, for instance, (first to be ‘in the know’), will generate a very different type of social data than those motivated by ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out).  Similarly, individuals who live through their social media avatar will share different types and volumes of content than those for whom social media is used as a form of self-extension.

Being able to view the world of social media both from within and outside of the category helps to bring a unique and powerful perspective to social listening, such that it becomes social understanding.  Unlike ‘listening’ alone, social understanding involves awareness and interpretations of not only content, but of motivations and meaning, to enrich both its interpretation and measurement.   With this in mind, kubi kalloo has developed some exciting new partnerships to take social listening to this new level of understanding, and we hope to share a case study on this topic later in the year.

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