The Social Data Behind Behavior

Some might think Matt Wallaert is a software engineer, but he's actually a social scientist with Bing at Microsoft.

Wallaert believes that analysis of social interactions will continue to increase within specific product groups, as social interactions and data play a more important role in business, reports the Seattle Times.

It seems as if the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation taps that ideology to focus on disease modeling by analyzing weather and mosquito populations to reduce or eradicate polio and malaria. The data provides insight into how to boost immune systems, in part, by changing the genetic makeup of foods in affected areas.

During the Virtual Faculty Summit 2013, Gates made an important point in front of an audience filled with educators: few people are polymathic and have the ability to reason across multiple subject areas. Still, he believes having a foundation in some subjects will spur deep innovation.



People can "make fun" of social media because many of the casual tweets talk about what someone had for breakfast, but Gates views the medium as enriching communications between people with common interests. "Social media will be profound in terms of people giving advice about their life and leaning about things, but it's not there yet," he said.

Microsoft has been using Twitter more frequently to run "social" studies related to behavior. In one such study, researchers ask participants to install a Twitter application and complete a 15 minute online questionnaire. Participants must leave the Twitter app on their device for two weeks.

A $5 gift card given for compensation can increase with bonus money based on the participant's performance in the study. The Twitter app will not post anything to the participant's Twitter feed, unless the person elects to do so based on choices in the survey.

Next story loading loading..