There has been a lot of press attention to the announcement by DataSift that it would be creating "a cloud-computing platform that enables entrepreneurs and enterprises to extract business insights from Twitter's public Tweets... dating back to January 2010."
"DataSift enriches every Tweet with details including sentiment, topics, web-links, location and social media influence -- giving companies an unprecedented capability to filter social data, extract meaning and create insights." From BBC News to VatorTV, articles have been springing up about what this means for the average tweeter. In other words, will you continue to tweet out knowing that your public tweets may or may not be mined by companies to help figure out social sentiment and help brands market smarter. "People have historically used Twitter to communicate with friends and networks in the belief that their tweets will quickly disappear into the ether," Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, told the BBC. Hosein went on to say:"The fact that two years' worth of tweets can now be mined for information and the resulting 'insights' sold to businesses is a radical shift in the wrong direction."
I think it's important to address a very simple fact here. Twitter data is public! Sure you can have private tweets, DMS, etc, but if you want to have a private conversation, use email. I really don't think there's a simpler way to put it. That's how the folks at Klout, Peer Index and Kred can score you without ever having had to log into the program, and that's why, it would stand to reason that Twitter would see nothing wrong with a type of deal like this.
The platform, is by design, public. If you saw a similar deal like this with Facebook, I think then you could have some serious cause for privacy issues since things that are put on Facebook are often decidedly NOT public, but anything that is public is just that: public. Thomas Bosilevac, director of analytics for the digital marketing company Digitaria, told Reuters, "The only privacy risk is marketers being able to do more with the data, faster."
What's The Value?
It's easy to see how larger brands could benefit from this large scale analysis, and they are the clear target. One has to wonder if this is possibly designed to help show larger brands the value around Twitter to then upsell them the value of advertising on the platform.
What About The Little Guy?
There is value in knowing what is going on in the Twittersphere as it related to your brand, but from individuals and SMBs, the most important thing to look at is "Interactive Analytics." What are you doing? What have you done that has lead to results? Is your team performing? Are you connected with people in the right location?
As a small business you have options (which bodes well because DataSift comes with an enterprise sized price tag). Using a tool like MarketMeSuite's Social Inbox you can track your interactive analytics and truly measure the ROI of any social campaign. But there's value in data no matter what the size of your company.
What DataSift has done with this deal is make it easier for the big guys to harness it. Twitter is big, Twitter is meaningful, and, most importantly, Twitter is public.
What do you think? Do you think there is any cause for concern with this new deal? I look forward to reading your comments, and you can connect with me on Twitter @tammykfennell.