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The Geography of Social Media

Happy New Year Sterling Geo newsletter readers! Hopefully, this article is light-hearted enough to ease you back into work.

The popularity of social media use across the globe is no longer considered to be news. It is now embedded as part of our daily lives and ranges from browsing through a feed to catch up on the latest activity of your network to posting something specific as a method of reaching out to your friends and colleagues. To some extent, the same can be said for geography. Everything we do revolves around location, whether that is where to meet for a beer or where your client’s office is located and how you are going to get there.

From a business perspective, regardless of industry or business function, being able to gain insights from this freely available data source has the potential to create relationships with clients and prospects which may have previously not been feasible. For example, the use of Twitter for disaster relief and recovery can have a significant impact on the ability of those relief organisations being able to direct their aid in the most effective manner. Which other factor is important in the planning of effective aid response? Location!

Last year, I attended an event at the Satellite Applications Catapult which was focused around the potential for using a tweet monitoring service as an early warning system and satellite tasking resource in the event of a natural disaster. As far as I’m aware, nothing of this magnitude has been developed yet. However, as with all things in the technology space, it won’t be long before this is a functioning system.

This brings us nicely on to one of the limitations of using social media and a systems ability to automatically interpret key words which could indicate two very separate scenarios. For example, both earthquakes and tsunamis are potentially devastating natural disasters yet they are also words which name popular music tracks. Who would be responsible for the automatic tasking of a satellite and aid response teams due to a Twitter trend from a music concert or album release?

In turn, this brings us nicely onto FME Desktop and Server which can data scrape Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. With FME, users can search specific hashtags, run automated scheduled reports, set up automatic tweet replies and even send out tweets. When used in conjunction with FME’s powerful integration and validation capabilities, linking social media information (which at the end of the day is just data) with other data sources, marketing and insight teams have a very powerful and cost effective tool at their disposal. Linking this back to the previous example, FME could be used to watch both Twitter and earthquake monitoring stations. Once there is a correlation in activity between location, tweets and data coming from any-one monitoring station, the event could be validated and the system triggered.

If you would like to find out how social media can be harnessed through the power of FME email us at enquiries@sterlinggeo.com or call Freephone 0800 912 0988. Alternatively, if you are new to FME and want to find out more, why not sign up to one of our FME World Tour events? 

Sam Campbell
Sterling Geo



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