Every day, 155M tweets ricochet through Twitter clients and 1.5B status ripple through Facebook feeds. You can find news updates, travel recommendations, purchasing recommendations, and life advice in this fire hose of data. Social networks brilliantly extract, record and store data that previously only coursed through people’s minds.
But the challenge of extracting long-term value from this library is unmet. 92% of retweets occur in the first hour – a terrifically short information half-life of 30 minutes. While the tools to create updates and react instantly to updates have been built, we lack the tools to enable users to benefit from the wealth of data days, weeks, or months later.
If I post a picplz photo of the Eiffel Tower with a caption, “the fries from the mid-deck restaurant are some of the best in Paris”, the information is valuable for about an hour, most likely to my friends and followers who may care I am in Paris. But the data contained within the caption, the recommendation of the restaurant, is valuable for far longer – a year or more.
Today, we have blunt tools to resurface this data in search. Tomorrow, it will be different. We will have tools to extract reviews and advice from feeds, structure it, store it and enable better discovery of this content months or years later.
Instead of reviews on Amazon and TripAdvisor, we will use applications to mine tweets, status updates, and blogs to sift through candid assessments that were captured immediately. The challenges of identifying the right people to trust and sifting the wheat from the chaff are hard, but tractable.
Reviews, recommendations and e-commerce will never be the same.