Philip Sheldrake

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Radian6 and the Insights Platform – getting semantic

Radian6 Social2011 conferenceI'm in Boston this week for the Radian6 Social 2011 Conference. (Disclosure: Radian6 is paying my expenses to be here.) So far I've enjoyed talking with Radian6 CMO David Alston, OpenAmplify CEO Mark Redgrave, Edelman's David Armano, Dell's Head of Interactive Marketing Adam Brown, Klout Head of Platform Matthew Thomson, Marshall Sponder and Nathan Gilliatt.

Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBrun has kicked off the event this morning by launching the new Insights Platform, and I appreciate why Marcel is so enthusiastic about it.

Here's how Radian6 describes it:

Insights are answers. Insights give meaning to unstructured volumes of content based your needs and integrated into our current dashboard offering. Current partners include Klout, OpenAmplify and OpenCalais. The insights that each of these partners offer (like age range, location, influencer score, textual analysis) are added as drill down options on the Dashboard widgets, so you are able to take your Radian6 topic profile mentions and overlay the insight partner data all in one place. No exporting River of News and doing comparative analysis in Excel to these providers data from your separate account, now it’s all been brought together for you.

How does it work? Well Radian6 has leaned heavily on the three partners, with both OpenAmplify and OpenCalais having deep expertise in semantic technologies. This is the tech that helps interpret, understand and process the meaning of content. Serious stuff.

There's no influence without meaning.

Think about this for a minute – there's no influence without meaning. You have been influenced when you think in a way that you wouldn't otherwise have thought, or do something you wouldn't otherwise have done, and such changes demand cognition.

The Business of Influence book coverIf you'd like to know more about working with the meaning of content, if you'd like to get to grips with the importance of this Radian6 innovation, then you'll find a description of this revolution in my book, The Business of Influence.

(Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, The Book Depository).

If you're intent on finding competitive advantage from such Web technologies, look out for the conference "Profiting from the New Web" that I'm chairing 23rd May at The Royal Society in London. The event is run in conjunction with the Web Science Trust and Intellect, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee is keynoting.

For now, here's a brief extract from page 154 in Chapter 8 of my book, a chapter titled Influence Trends.

Web 3.0, The Business of Influence

If Web 2.0 is all about (user-generated) content and community participation, Web 3.0 is about the Web itself understanding the meaning of all the content and participation. Indeed, the Web becomes a universal medium for the exchange of data, information and knowledge.

Web 3.0 is more accurately called the semantic Web, although the phrase Web of Data is increasingly popular. To clarify the terms here, semantic Web analysis is a term encompassing techniques to infer meaning in (including the sentiment of) contributions made to the social Web (Web 2.0). The semantic Web (Web 3.0) allows for that meaning to be built in to all published data including, potentially, those contributions.

The semantic Web includes a vision known as Linked Data, which in simple terms allows data to be described with reference to universally avail- able common vocabularies, and considerable work is going on around the world on defining these vocabularies and linking datasets accordingly. Figure 8.3 diagrammatically represents a snapshot of this interlinking as of September 2010.

Figure 8.3 – The LinkedOpenData Project interlinked datasets, September 2010

500px-Lod-datasets_2010-09-22_colored

Do you recall some of those oft-repeated diagrams in Web 2.0 books and training? Well expect to see this one, and possibly updates to it if they continue to fit on one page, many times in the coming years. It’s probably too detailed to be legible in print here (you can follow the link in the endnotes) but the message it conveys isn’t contained in its text but in the number of data sources (circles) and the extent of the interlinking.

When the team at Wiley and I were discussing what should be included in this book there was some concern that reference to such technologies might be a case of me wearing my technology and engineering hat more than my marketing and PR hat. But in the end the conclusion was resolute: Web 3.0 had to make the final edit because it is happening now at the BBC, Wikipedia, Google and within the UK and US governments, to name just a few of the hundreds of organizations, and moreover I hope I can convey what it means without resort to technical jargon or acronyms.

It is significant that The International Press Telecommunications Council is also using Web 3.0. The Council announced in April 2010 the official launch and widespread adoption of its G2 family of news exchange standards sup- ported by Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, dpa, The Press Association, and Thomson Reuters. G2 contains some Web 3.0 components.

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