If you've been reading our Tide Reports or our blog posts, the you've almost certainly seen graphs like this:
And even some pie charts like this:
These are the results of taking a lot of data from the wonderful world of the Interwebs, feed it into a Machine That Goes Ping AKA Radian6, and watching what it spits out. In fact, we think that the way in which we constantly monitor online social conversations about ocean issues, and then crunch the numbers and distil them into a few lines on a graph or slices in a pie chart, is one of the more important things we do at Upwell. So we thought we'd take a few minutes to explain our 'big listening' methodology.
First, Make Some Tea ...
Each morning as the tea is brewing, we fire up a program called Radian6, which we use to search for all online mentions of a number of different topic profiles. (Think of Radian6 as Google on steroids. A lot of steroids. But without the occasional eruptions of rage.) Radian6 users create their own topic profiles to monitor, and the ones that we have established so far are:
- Overfishing / Sustainable Seafood
- Gulf of Mexico
- Ocean Acidification
and a more general catch-all category which we dub, with starling originality,
Additionally, we can and do create more narrowly-focused search areas to focus on specific issues or breaking news - for example, the International Coral Reef Symposium, or the International Whaling Commission.
Start Broad ...
Within those topic profiles, we create keyword groups, and for most of the topics we cover, those keywords are relatively straightforward and predictable. When it comes to sharks, however, we have had to be more creative, because a) of all the ocean-themed topics we monitor online, sharks are by some distance the most popular; and b) because the shark 'brand' is spread throughout culture: there are shark-named products, shark-named sports teams, and shark idioms.