Measuring Social Media: Who Has Access to the Firehose?

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Mashable, 3/13/11

At SXSW 2011, I moderated a panel titled “Measuring Social Media – Let’s Get Serious,” with the goal of having a frank discussion about the realities, pratfalls and opportunities for individuals and marketers tasked with managing social media and measuring social media ROI.

During the Q&A session of the panel, Porter Novelli’s Israel Mirsky asked Kevin Weil, product lead for revenue at Twitter, a pointed and direct question that cuts to the core of the conversation surrounding social media measurements: Who has access to the data?

In the case of Twitter, the company offers free access to its API for developers. The API can provide access and insight into information about tweets, replies and keyword searches, but as developers who work with Twitter — or any large scale social network — know, that data isn’t always 100% reliable. Unreliable data is a problem when talking about measurements and analytics, where the data is helping to influence decisions related to social media marketing strategies and allocations of resources.

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