Quick change and social trends

As a Twitterer and busy person my blog has been somewhat sidelined. I’m not alone - other blogs I once enjoyed regularly (Nicholas Carr’s; Adam Buxton’s; Graham Linehan’s) have witnessed a marked drop-off in posting regularity.

Anyway, here I am, back at the blogface. I had a note on what to post about next, but it has been overtaken before I got to it. But it’s a great example of the speed of change and, luckily, still also interesting.

Here’s the article that caught my eye

It was only posted on 24 August, yet aspects of it already seem dated. Ironically for an article called ‘Mining Mood Swings on the Real-Time Web’ it mentions Google Buzz - isn't that now dead?

Then there’s this bit of slightly disingenuous blurb:

‘The company sells its data and analytics service for a monthly fee, but CEO Raj Kadam says that Social Trends will provide a free way to people to access data the company is already collecting.’

Having huffily written ‘disingenuous’ above I realised I got this wrong. I read the offending paragraph as meaning that an individual user could have a limited access to search for terms of their choice for free. But that’s not what it says and, in fact, the site does give some broad term freebies.

To get the 7 day free trial so you can try it out for yourself you need, of course, to part with credit card details. Not for me (with my own funds, anyway). But I had a look at Social Trends anyway, so here’s an example of a current trend, for reference on the 9 November, headed ‘CEOs and Business Leaders’:

Notice I’m not on there. You can also dig a bit deeper. Here’s more on Mr Jobs:

See, it was worth a blog post wasn’t it? An organisation that really wants to know where it stands in the real-time online world could benefit hugely. (Other organisations that provide this type of service are available, I am not affiliated with any such organisation (other disclaimers)).

The only puzzler is that I also left myself a note: ‘Psychohistory’. This is Isaac Asimov’s made up science of predicting the future by analysing the behaviours of large groups of people although a look at Wikipedia tells me there is a real, if controversial, subject of the same name.

What did I mean by this note? Did I think that this kind of real-time social trending analysis could also predict the future? Did my past self have a massive insight that I could turn into a massively profitable web- or app-based product?

I can’t remember. That’s real-time forgetfulness.

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About the author

Brian is Head of Content at BCS and blogs about the Institute’s role in making IT good for society, historical developments in computing, the implications of CS research and more.

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