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The Role of Text Analytics in Social Media Career Paths

I just read Brian Solis’ very interesting article on Social Media and The Tale of Two Career Paths.  Brian describes a timeline, if you will, littered with hurdles and roadblocks like realms of responsibility, political red tape, ownership battles, measurement, monitoring, then the realization that efforts don’t matter.  Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group published ”Career Path of the Corporate Social Media Strategist,” According to Solis, “Jeremiah surfaces the bitter truth that we, the champions of social media, have two roles to serve within business today, leader or helper.” What I’d like to add to what these two really smart guys have written, is that Text Analytics: 1. provides a helper role to the leader persona(text analysis helps propel the leader) and 2. provides a leader role to the helper persona(text analytics helps the helper become a leader).   

Consider the following summary of the Lord of the Rings:   

Everyone who comes into contact with the ring is drawn to it. Ring bearers (such as Gollum and Bilbo)become enslaved to the ring. The ring is given to Frodo, a passionate, capable ring bearer who knows that “to be a ring bearer, is to be alone”. Frodo, too, becomes enslaved to the ring.  He runs into many foes who attempt to stop him from performing his task but he is also aided by a fellowship of similar minded people (wizards, elves, dwarves and hobbits) and who help him find his way to Mordor. Finally, call it selfishly, Frodo claims the ring as his own. But, in a battle with Gollum, the ring is released into the lava stream of Mt Doom.    

Air New Zealand's Lord of the Rings jet



To me, the task of the Chief Social Officer is rather analogous to the LOTR storyline:   

Everyone who comes in contact with social media is drawn to the technology.  A rare, few people become passionately ‘enslaved’ as social media evangelists/strategists/analysts.  Currently, to be a Chief Social Officer(CSO) for a company is to be (somewhat) alone.  The Chief Social Officer runs into people who, purposefully or not, prevent him/her from doing his/her task.  Some Chief Social Officers find themselves on the road to Career Path 1 – Scalable Social Business Programs; and are  aided by a fellowship of similar minded passionate colleagues who want to see Social Media  programs succeed, making use of technologies such as text analytics, sentiment analysis, social media analysis and more to help get there. Some CSOs have ended up on Career Path 2 – Grounded to the Social Media Help Desk (slaves to the cause, like Gollum).  Whichever Career Path you end up on, text analytics (core to social media analysis and sentiment analysis) will propel you to greatness because, as text analytics goes mainstream(instead of lava stream), you know that you are making decisions based on accurate information coming from the data. While Career Path 1 is preferable, Career Path 2 isn’t final – you just need to find your Social Media Frodo (did I just write that?) and a group of passionate helpers. While there will be tussling for Career Path 1 and CSO status, social media strategy and analysis will go mainstream none-the-less.  

Text Analytics provides a helper role to the leader persona(text analysis helps propel the leader) and provides a leader role to the helper persona(text analytics helps the helper become a leader).  Whichever way you look at it, text analytics plays a major role. How exactly does text analytics help these career paths?   

1.  it helps by drawing data driven insights.  Both the leader and the helper can be comfortable making decisions based on the data   

2. it automates the understanding of what your customers are saying about you allowing you to take quick action where necessary   

3. it allows you to understand the sentiment around a brand/product/feature, and enables you to track that brand   

4.  it allows you to quickly get to the root cause of an issue   

5. it helps reduce safety and quality issues   

6. it can help avoid nasty PR issues, and much, much more.   

So, which ever path you have taken to get to the social media pinnacle, all is not lost.  Text Analytics is like the necklace that holds The Ring of Power!  


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