Social data is both the content and the context of what you’re hearing in social media. Social data is computer-readable (which is important because social data comes in large volumes). It provides metadata like location, engagement and links shared. This data is drawn only from publicly shared social media interactions.

A new whitepaper by GNIP offers some interesting information about Leveraging Social Data In The Public Sector. Some examples from the whitepaper:

  • FEMA harnesses social data to assist its efforts during natural disasters, watching social media feeds to identify citizens in need during the moments after a disaster strikes
  • US State Department has used Twitter and other sources to monitor the impact of aid in foreign countries

They wisely recommend creating a social data strategy that establishes your organizational process for using social data to monitor and respond to social media trends. As well, they remind the reader that the volume of data associated with social data is enormous and systems must be capable of process this large amount of information. Therefore GNIP recommends responding to these considerations for leveraging social media in the public sector (read the report for details):

  • Reliable and robust architecture: format normalization, redundancy and backup, low latency, scalability and service-level agreements
  • Include enriched information: geodata, unwinding shortened urls, language identification, measuring influence
  • Sustainability: APIs, scraping, terms of service compliant data
  • Interface Coverage: reaction time and depth