Curating content and user experience on the Web

This blog article on “controlled serendipity” spurred me to conduct a little content curating of my own, resulting in this gem of a research paper that documents how the BBC utilizes Linked Data technologies to make it easier for BBC users to navigate its vast programming database.

The first article discusses how the Web collective–the user commons if you will–is benefiting from individual efforts at curating content, done largely as a free service driven by a spirit to share.

Sharing has become a reflex action when people find an interesting video, link or story. Great content going viral isn’t new. But the sharing mentality is no longer confined to the occasional gems. It’s for everything we consume online, large or small.

I think anyone engaged in the social Web would readily agree with this sentiment. It’s what makes participating in this distributed forum so fun. The article also points out, however, that the vast content mines that exist can be somewhat difficult to navigate to find true gems. Thus, the implication is that content providers need to step up to the plate and deliver content systems that make it easier on Web “content curators”.

The research paper referenced above describes how the BBC used a concept called Named Entity Recognition (NER) to extract concepts from textual input. This allowed for more efficient human editorial input to ensure that these concepts were accurate. Once approved these “concepts” were transformed into links appearing on a Web page. This process then allowed the BBC to use the “concept links” to create user journeys through their site. All this is based on semantic web principles. The future looks bright, indeed, for those of us who constantly scour the Web for salient content.

I think anyone engaged in the social Web would readily agree with this sentiment. It’s what makes participating in this distributed forum so fun. The article also points out, however, that the vast content mines that exist can be somewhat difficult to navigate to find true gems. Thus, the implication is that content providers need to step up to the plate and deliver content systems that make it easier on Web “content curators”.
The research paper referenced above describes how the BBC used a concept called Named Entity Recognition (NER)http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Named_entity_recognition to extract concepts from textual input. This allowed for more efficient human editorial input to ensure that these concepts were accurate. Once approved these “concepts” were transformed into links appearing on a Web page. This process then allowed the BBC to use the “concept links” to create user journeys through their site. All this is based on semantic webhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web principles.

Using text analytics to increase customer engagement and loyalty

I love it when research/theory manifests in application/practicality. In 2007, I wrote about research being conducted on semantic analysis related to social media and blogs, and now there are companies using products stemming from this type of research.

Information Week covered text analytics, describing how JetBlue uses text analytics to understand customer sentiment from email messages, which informed the airline how to draft its customer bill of rights. And KMWorld discusses how the burgeoning field of “customer experience analysis” uses text analytics to increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Customers today aren’t just customers–they’re influencers and social networkers. Across the Web at any hour, they’re sharing observations about your company’s products and services, and those of your competitors…These new modes of customer behavior make it essential for companies to move beyond traditional ways of gathering, analyzing, and acting on customer information – Information Week

For a long time, text analytics was a technology in search of a business need. Now, thanks to social media, the need is there; the question is whether the technology can ramp up fast enough to be commercial – KMWorld

Where social media in real estate sometimes has the floor manners of a dog’s breakfast, it’ll become increasingly important for real estate firms to engage in text-sentiment analysis as part of their overall CRM and customer experience efforts. Here’s a list of companies that offer text-sentiment analysis services:

Photo credit: mnapoleon

New media innovation issues and risks

This research paper, Power, media culture and new media, delves into social justice issues surrounding the democratizing effects of new media. The paper points out that new media benefits (e.g., easier access to information through widespread platforms like mobile devices) are not equally shared or distributed across class, race, or national origin. The paper also implicitly points out that the use of mash-ups along with the increasing diversity of media outlets could create a “ripe” environment for effective government-sanctioned propaganda campaigns.

Similarly, the new media environment where essentially everyone can be a “content producer” offers unprecedented opportunities for government surveillance and ultimate suppression and/or obfuscation of speech by using new media outlets as viral engines to discredit speech that’s counter to government views or objectives. The author does point out some positive reverberations from new media harmonics; and this is the alignment of human rights initiatives with new media (as embodied in such organizations like Mothers Fighting for Others). Nevertheless, the paper ends with a caution that discriminatory (and by implication, repressive) actions can re-emerge in new media, despite the overarching democratizing effects of the medium.

Does this paper relate to real estate? Not directly. It’s simply a great education piece on the broader implications of our new media economy and society.