Commentary

Starting a data revolution

What's the buzz in the Facebook sphere? Facebook Lexicon now gives us an answer, with bonus historical perspective!

The service, playing off Google Trends and similar aggregate counting sites, digs through the content of Facebook Walls and allows users to search for popular terms. The service then charts the use of these words on dynamic graphs whose X (time) axis range you can alter like a scroll bar.

Creepy? Sorta. Cool? Damn skippy.

I tried a few search terms, including Ball State, which yielded the more interesting suggestion of "party tonight, hangover."

The results are funny and logical: Week after week, "party tonight" appearances surge just before Saturdays, and what follows on Saturday? Surges of the word "hangover."

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There are more practical applications of this tool for marketers. How often is your brand being mentioned? What words/phrases/subjects are we bringing up more often - and when?

This is a skimming off the mountain of data and research Facebook could pull from its user database without encroaching on users' personal privacy. Facebook should include a filter on lexicon to single out words by demographic criterion. How often is "Obama" used on walls of 18-24 single females? That's the type of data exploration Facebook needs to start supporting.

Advertisers should start demanding it, too. In fact, so should users.

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