Data Analysts Seek to Make Social Media More Useful

It’s not easy turning the Mayberry Police Department into the team from CSI, or turning an idea for a new type of social network analysis into something like Klout on steroids, but those types of transformations are becoming ever more realistic. The world’s universities and research institutions are hard at work figuring out ways to make the mountains of social data generated every day more useful and, hopefully, make us realize there’s more to social data than just figuring out whose digital voice is the loudest.Aspiring heirs to the Klout throne, for example, might look to a project called Stinger now under development at Georgia Institute of Technology. Stinger, which stands for Spatio-Temporal Interaction Networks and Graphs Extensible Representation, is a graph-processing engine that project lead David Bader says is bigger, faster, and more flexible than anything currently in use for analyzing social media connections. You provide a shared-memory computing system, and it provides an open-source tool that can help detect relationships between billions of people, places, and things as those relationships change over time — even in real time.

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