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Can media analysis make the world a safer place?

Tough question. It can track the online reputation of your company, can provide customer insights, can show you how your competitors are manoeuvring in the digital world, can make decision makers listen to the customer’s voice. …And from time to time it can help countries detect early signs of epidemic outbreaks.

BOOM! You did not expect that, did you? Some facts:

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Cliché incoming – basically information is flowing faster than ever before. News is reported in real time and big trends are easier to follow by typing a hashtag in front of a word, than tuning in to major news outlets. Tweets warning of Ebola were read by millions even before the outbreak was officially acknowledged:

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A year ago we were approached and offered a chance to build sophisticated search queries to be used in the Middle East and North Africa as an early warning system against a virus that can cause such epidemic outbreaks. The queries, targeting mostly Twitter users had to be built from the ground up in three languages, including Arabic.

Needless to say this was one of the most interesting tasks we had taken on.

Going back and forth, arguing on what should be included or excluded, reading through the search results to evaluate relevancy. Diving deep into specific terminology – then translating it into the language that will most probably be used on the social Media. Back to the drawing board when the queries were shooting blanks.

Yes, it was tiresome and tedious work, but it was simply invigorating to know that the words we type and mix with search operators can be used to save lives, prevent an epidemic or help guide medical attention and drugs to the right places.

And after two hectic weeks we could marvel at our creation. Eyes – in dire need of sleep, but pride flowing through, nonetheless. Can you change the world with this? Probably not. Can you make it a safer place? Yes. Simple as that.