SAS 2014 continued to push past its origins as a sentiment-only conference to one on the cutting edge of what organizer Seth Grimes named “human analytics” and what I’ve dubbed “humetrics.” Whatever it’s called, attendees seemed to be operating with the knowledge that capturing and analyzing social data – what people do, say and feel, goes well beyond the traditional and impersonal demographics, participation rates or transaction volumes that tell us “what” but not “why.”
Here are the highlights from my perspective on understanding people:
- Talks on emotions, intentions, and motivations. Dr. Rosalind Picard of MIT, the founder of affective computing, described her lab’s research to recognize emotions which can eventually help people with autism, social phobias, and other conditions more successfully read others and interact. Aloke Guha of Cruxly outlined a system to detect peoples’ intentions and sentiment in near real time. MotiveQuest’s David Rabjohns’ talk on mapping human motivations and applying them to brands was instructive in ways that brands can use motivations to position themselves better. Beyond Verbal’s presentation on emotions in speech illuminated a way forward.
- Engagement. Marie Wallace of IBM outlined an approach to “engagement analytics” with a description of ways to understand the engagement of an enterprise’s workforce, and for workers in the company to appreciate their social standing. I’m intrigued and also skeptical, in that I’m not sure that people in companies should be rated on their contributions, sharing, and ratings by others.
- Social ROI through Enhanced Text Analytics. Dell Software presented its system for tracking conversations across a variety of channels. What struck me was how straightforward it was, how its taxonomies were based on consumer language, and how the system allowed analysts to drill down or roll up as needed.
- Insiders Guide to Social Media Analysis: This 3.5 hour workshop focused on how to think about metrics, stressed the importance of having a social media “theory,” a measurement framework, and fitting metrics to it. Attendees from companies like Dell gave it a big thumbs up because it reinforced the value of “framework,” and an agency which said “I wish I attended this a year ago before we committed to a measurement plan for an important client.” (Full disclosure: I gave the workshop. I’m not one to self-promote. I’m reporting this because I was truly happy that so many attendees derived value from it).
Really looking forward to the 2015 edition.