The rush of data in the economy can be overwhelming, especially to businesses which have no idea how to handle it. One of the primary areas this problem is found is in social media.

There are plenty of metrics associated with social: how often you’re mentioned, what the sentiment of the mention is, the demographics of your followers and so on. It’s messy and often unreliable. How do we track it?

Twitter has provided at least some help in that regard: opening up its basic analytics features, previously unavailable to individual users, means even the most basic tweeter has the power to examine detailed, visualised information about their social media followings.

For example, without analytics programs, users wouldn’t be able to see this type of information visualised:


Impressions Tweet Graph


Now, they’re able to examine the gender breakdown of their followers, their location, what their interests are, and examine which tweets had the most engagement and exposure. Clearly this provides them with the opportunity to modify behaviour to increase exposure.

This type of product isn’t just categorising data but gathering it for popular consumption in a readable way – something which needs to happen far more often. As Digital Change’s head of Digital Intelligence, Jason Juma-Ross, says:

Traditionally, data moved in batches, was stored in databases, and analysed at rest. Now data is continuous, fluid, and distributed. Insight comes from the stream which means orientation, decision, action, and reaction all happen at the millisecond level.

Information such as tweets and social media posts happen by the second. Data collections need to reflect the speed of that process.

But there’s a bigger ramification here. The “always-on” customer is becing accompanied by customers who have access to more data than ever before. It starts with Twitter, then it will begin to grow in other areas – and then consumers will start looking for similar data programs in all of their lives. Smart businesses will provide it to them.