My First Time Social Listening

Allow me to give you a small taste of my professional background. I spent the last decade assessing credit risk portfolios of consumer finance assets. From credit cards to mortgages; if it’s a form of consumer debt, I know what drives cash flows and the risks associated with purchasing it from financial institutions.

Essentially, I understood behaviors. I was however keen to explore that more from a social media setting point of view.

We recently released a free account that tracks real-time coronavirus news. We wanted people to have access to reliable news from twitter and instagram that has been pre-vetted with language analysis to comb through the noise out there.

As someone who recently got into the social listening game, I thought it’s worth penning down a few things that I experienced with this free dashboard as we’re all practicing our form of social distancing.

Old Habits Die Hard

Here’s my experience using twitter as a non-professional user. I tend to hit refresh often when I'm waiting for the latest news to come in. Typically waiting for soccer team lineups to be announced in my failing pursuit of fantasy football points...

Are old habits necessarily bad ones?

Our founder told me to stop hitting refresh. He said that the dashboard was created with an emphasis for users to do less. Simply put, the dashboard refreshes on its own as real-time news comes in.

I had a hard time believing him at first. I was clearly told facts but because of my own biased past behavior, I ignored it completely.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw that the dashboard was showing actual real-time news seamlessly, without me having to do anything.

Time to check my personal bias towards old habits.

Did I Just Rapidly Share Noise?

There’s always fear that the information we share could be unreliable, unvetted, or simply put, described as ‘noise’.

How then do we ensure that we share real-time quality information without falling into the trap of being a noise amplifier instead?

A small case study.

News broke about President Trump’s latest coronavirus press conference. Important information I wanted to share with my social circle.

Visual of me eager to share information. I'm not quite as dapper IRL.

As I excitedly shared this real-time news to them on whatsapp (everyone’s part of a group chat, let’s be real), I immediately realized the major news network hadn’t picked it up yet.

20 seconds in, still nothing from the major news network.

Oh. My. Days. Have I just fallen victim to a rogue tweet? Am I now a fake news champion? Did I just share noise?!?!

Thankfully, 45 seconds in, major news networks started reporting it. Our dashboard was actually working in providing real-time information. And faster than traditional media too!

Without going deep into how we avoid noise in our language analysis, it’s just nice to know that the dashboard just works. It is set up pretty much for anyone that doesn’t really know how to use twitter (aka me) and elevates them as a power user that gives them immediate access to a wealth of untapped information.

I almost felt like a real-life journalist sourcing out news sources there.

Building Awareness

When it comes to getting the latest reliable piece of information on coronavirus, you can and should monitor information coming from the World Health Organization (amongst other sources out there).

Sometimes, taking off your headphone to listen to your surroundings is a breath of fresh air

But by their very nature, they’re not meant to provide you with information at the granular level. It’s not their purpose to talk about flight cancellations or events.

Using our free dashboard, it’s striking to me how impactful this pandemic is in terms of what it touches. From the service industry in small towns to the financial sector in big cities, the impact of this pandemic can be felt in full force from different angles.

I can only hope that things turn around soon and we all recover together.

We know how hard it is to stay across so many stories and so much news. So we’ve made this coronavirus dashboard as painless to use as possible. We want to give you and anyone you may know the chance to be a Twitter power user and plug in to the wealth of untapped news out there.

Please share it with any friends or family you think it may help.

Stay safe.

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